[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Mamma Mia!

Silly, but fun, with great music

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

July 20, 2008 -- Let me say this up front, I like a number of Abba's songs, which is why I went to the movie in the first place. If you don't like Abba songs, then this is a movie you should probably avoid. It won't convert you. This film is based on the stage musical of the same name and it is structured similarly. It is a fairly flimsy story built around some 22 Abba songs. It works, to a degree, as a musical. The story isn't particularly believable, but that is true of a lot of musicals. Mainly, this is a celebration of the wildly popular singing group, Abba.

Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep stars as Donna, a woman who has raised her daughter, Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried of “Alpha Dog”) alone on a remote Greek Island. Neither Donna nor Sophie know who Sophie's father is, but Sophie narrows it down to three men after reading her mother's diary, and invites them all to her upcoming wedding. The three men all show up. They are Bill (Stellan Skarsgård of “King Arthur”), Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan of “Die Another Day”) and Harry Bright (Colin Firth of “Love Actually”). Somehow, Sophie persuades all three to stay for the wedding without telling them that one of them is her father, without telling her mother of their arrival, and despite the fact that her mother doesn't want any of them at the wedding. This involves, of course, much singing and dancing.

Donna invites her own friends to the wedding, Rosie (Julie Walters of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”) and Tanya (Christine Baranski of “Bowfinger”). Various romantic developments happen between the various wedding guests and the staff at the resort hotel run by Donna. All of this involves more singing and dancing. I guess I am not a big Abba fan, since I am not familiar with some of the songs in the movie, like “Super Trouper,” “Money, Money, Money” and “Our Last Summer.” I did recognize six or seven of the songs, like “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia” and “Chiquitita.” Probably the most effective song, in terms of working with the film's plot is Meryl Streep's emotional rendering of “The Winner Takes It All” just before the wedding scene. Streep is a good singer, and so are Seyfried, Baranski and Walters. Probably Brosnan's singing is the least effective, but his voice isn't bad, just not suited to this particular musical material. He sang well in the film “Evelyn.”

There is a whole lot of screaming, giggling and squealing in this film, and that's just the men. Seriously, this is a chick flick. Men are relegated to the margins of the film. It was hard to put up with all the screaming, squealing and giddiness. That stuff was seriously overdone. Women probably have a different view of this. As a man, I found it fun and entertaining to a point. Original Abba members Björn Ulvaeus (playing a piano on the beach) and Benny Andersson (in Angelic garb wielding a lyre near the end of the film) both appear in the film, and are both executive producers of the film. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2008 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)