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4 reviews, 53 user ratings

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Mamma Mia!
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by Marc Kandel

"Fit only for female divorce solace or fat chick appletini drink offs..."
2 stars

...…And only then if Netflix is out of “Sex and the City”. "Mamma Mia" is a poorly made cash grab targeting people with no access to roller rinks who enjoy the music of ABBA whilst zipping around clockwise (counter-clockwise on Tuesdays and Thursdays!) under a revolving disco ball.

I firmly believe the only reason the Broadway show exists is because some fool with lots of money and the hunger for more watched Muriel’s Wedding, an entertaining, fascinating tale that wisely and briefly utilized ABBA songs to add color to the already colorful main character, and saw that there could be gelt made from scrapping off the crusty barnacles of plot and story from that film and giving an audience, who they could only perceive as real-life “Muriels”, alongside the tween contingent eager to consume the latest retro-fad, a stripped-down showcase of nostalgic tunes thinly threaded together with a marriage plot that can only be described as a ninth grader’s English class report on commedia del arte.

Plot? Sure, what the hell: A girl lures her 3 possible fathers to remote Greek island owned by her mother (if you want to run a bed & breakfast and sing ABBA songs, why do it apropos in Sweden, the birthplace of the band, when you can give performers a vacation in Greece?) in order to learn which of the three is her biological parent so that lucky soul can give her away at her wedding and possibly throw her horny mother a bang, giving the mother something else to sing about other than needing “Money” despite owning a fucking Greek Island complete with an entire staff of Greeks so happy to be toiling for the pretty white lady. Add three of the mom’s best friends from her wacky younger days to poke and prod her into foolish behavior and on-hand to screw the remaining fathers (or make them question their sexuality) and ABBAlarity ensues.

I can’t believe I wrote that much to explain this film. It’s a bunch of hackneyed clichés hammered into a rickety plot wheelchair to push the characters from song to song as rapidly as possible. Click-clack, ABBA song, click-clack, ABBA song, click-clack…

The performers enjoy themselves be it Meryl Streep boasting a fine voice and glowing presence that doesn’t require her to weep uncontrollably or play a vicious ice bitch, or her talented lady cohorts falling back on their musical theater training to bang out some decent renditions of the songs. But it’s nothing that couldn’t have been done as a celebrity album a la “Golden Throats”. In fact, that’s probably the best home for Pierce Brosnan. I’d rather watch a Remington Steele Christmas Special where he has to get Laura back to her home planet for “Life Day” than hear him dry heave an ABBA ballad again.

I’d gladly listen to Brosnan’s efforts on repeat for 2 hours however, than watch Colin Firth debase himself onscreen as he stolidly endures the contemptible humiliations called for by the script, one, a nigh-stereotypical shout-out to a major fan-base of musical theater which would constitute the film throwing in the kitchen sink if it didn’t do just that at the end with the emergence of some inexplicable, pointless geyser of water, the other, a number during the credits where Firth, Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgaard, also trotted out for abasement, don horrific disco outfits and waddle through the closing number. I can see how this could be considered funny, indeed I can picture the type of people that would find this funny: older, fatter women, shoes kicked off with their stockings still on, room filling up with their foot odor, all cackling over a prodigious bowl of chips and salsa con queso. Myself, I was not amused.

I have nothing against musicals on film. I’m currently on what must be my 28th viewing of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd with no end in sight, and I’ve always liked the 1962 Music Man film lest anyone think it has to be all dark and angsty for me. In fact, that’s not going to get anyone a free pass; despite being a fan of the Broadway production, I find the film version of Lloyd-Webber’s Phantom of the Opera a lackluster, plodding affair with no discernable charm, unforgivably missing the dazzling spectacle of the stage experience. Yet these musicals, film or no, exist to showcase original material and blend story and music together competently rather than shoehorning disco-pop into a poorly framed, tired, cliché driven storyline that has little to do with the goings on, or worse, telegraphs the content of the songs with bad choreography.

Likewise, I have no beef with ABBA (though having to write their name in all caps feels strange). I don’t go out of my way to listen to them, but I wouldn’t change the dial if Waterloo or Dancing Queen reared their heads, both perfectly enjoyable, light fare. I just don’t see how these songs warrant a big budget production on either stage or screen, particularly if they are cobbled together with the slapdash efficiency seen here.

If you are only in it for the music, buy the CD. Better you should watch The Who’s Tommy which roars across the border to incomprehensible yet surrenders to the bizarre with verve and has great songs backing up the sheer oddity (at least for the first half and the ending number in my opinion). Whatever else Tommy might be, it’s not somebody figuring out how to take advantage of “Who” fans. It’s The Who on their own terms. Then again, I’m not sure ABBA on their terms would reach for any more depth than what we see here. Perhaps some scenes with lingonberry pancakes.

Watch “Muriel’s Wedding” for a great ABBA musical; it’s more sincere and fifty times more enjoyable. Or, since this tripe is obviously your thing, help your pal Janet get over her husband running off with his personal trainer and watch “Mamma Mia”.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17022&reviewer=358
originally posted: 04/21/09 20:59:12
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User Comments

7/09/18 Joesmaltz Horrible ‘ painful to try and watch. And I like ABBA 1 stars
6/10/18 brian Full-on chick flick, beautiful scenery Including Amanda Seyfried. See once. 3 stars
10/27/14 Irene This crap has not improved with age; just the opposite 1 stars
8/21/13 Randolph Carter Donna is a slut. Lets make a movie about a woman who can't keep her legs closed! 2 stars
5/20/12 Cary Grant Hey Firth, too bad there's no transplant for graceful. 1 stars
4/03/12 Gene Kelly Colin Firth is spastic. Don't ever pollute movies again with your dancing.. 2 stars
3/24/11 the dork knight 2 Colin Firth's idea of dancing is as scary as Amanda Siegfried's eyes. 1 stars
3/06/11 musical lover a good traveloge...repulsive acting/repulsive movie. 1 stars
3/03/11 Samantha Congrats Colin Firth. See what happens when you attempt to sing and dance? Dud. 1 stars
2/26/11 Barbara Colin Firth, you stink! 3 stars
1/13/11 Linda G Shame on the entire cast ...shame, shame, shame 1 stars
9/22/10 Emily Sand James Band & Mr. Darcy embarress themselves for the money 2 stars
8/09/10 the dork knight Great Caeser's Shit! Pierce Brosnan's "singing" is something to behold. 3 stars
3/11/10 Rita P Want to see something w/C Firth worth watching? Once again NOT HERE! 3 stars
1/07/10 Carol Miles SCENES THAT SHD BE FUNNY - NOT FUNNY 1 stars
1/01/10 art rated G FOR GARBAGE! 1 stars
12/24/09 jan laclede Awful everything but the island 2 stars
8/15/09 Christine C Best movie ever 5 stars
8/12/09 Deedee No fan of the movie, but Marc Kandel's review is badly-written, offensive misogynistic crap 2 stars
8/02/09 RLan If you like ABBA this is a must see. If you don't, its a must avoid. 3 stars
7/19/09 Cat Smith A chick filck musical? I'm a chick and hated it. What a horrible film. 1 stars
5/12/09 art the only saving grace,was AMANDA SEYFRIED! 2 stars
2/15/09 Kat Does anyone else think brianorndorf is the most braindead director on this site? 2 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. its not an oscar film, its a chick flick musical! GOSH stop the criticism :P 4 stars
1/04/09 Tony Dimwitted dawdlers & grim Grecian islanders bark out ABBA's dogwhistle ditties 1 stars
10/24/08 Gloria D. It was fun but not my favorite 3 stars
10/04/08 Little Pissed Sunshine Too Amanda Seyfried character bows out gracefully from a story better left unbowed-out-of. 3 stars
10/03/08 Jenny Tullwartz Well, Susan, THANK GOD it's not Moulin Rouge or Chicago! 4 stars
10/03/08 Etheridge Hoogendijk Amanda Seyfried(&whole MEAN GIRLS cast) may've given selves harder act than they can follow 3 stars
10/03/08 Doug Graves OK but Amanda Seyfried was so better forcasting weather w/ her boobs & laughing at diarrhea 3 stars
9/13/08 Armando Verga Nothing survives to Abba music (music?) 1 stars
9/08/08 Alan C. I'm a straight 46 year old male, and have seen it 7 times. (Sing along version 4 of them.) 5 stars
9/01/08 BruceD Excellent, excellent, excellent! The movie was fun and fast. Great actors, great sports! 5 stars
8/10/08 Enid Gamvros I hated it. Too noisy with a silly plot. Pierce Brosnan should stick to Bond 1 stars
8/08/08 R.W. Welch Somewhat hyper and thinly plotted. Has a few good tunes. 3 stars
8/06/08 MrSpacely It cost 10 bucks here. Ouch. Thanks for the fitting "From Justin to Kelly" reference. 2 stars
8/06/08 Ameisha What a waste of $8.50! 1 stars
7/28/08 mary mcmuray I liked the movie and the music but I see what they mean about everyone being too happy. 4 stars
7/27/08 LeeAnn Even for a musical, the plot was too far-fetched, especially the ending. 2 stars
7/27/08 Kathleen Brosnan was painful to listen to but some moments of fun 4 stars
7/27/08 AnnieG Unless you are a 13 year old girl or an ABBA nut, don't waste your time! 1 stars
7/27/08 Richard Poorly directed and edited, only a couple of quieter numbers saved this from being 1 star 2 stars
7/26/08 scott omg i loved the movie cant wait till it comes out on dvd i will watch it over and over agai 5 stars
7/26/08 Pete Trashing a movie because you don't like the music? Lame!. The movie was great 5 stars
7/26/08 Beth This was a lovely piece of candy sprinked with cheese and wrapped in happiness. 5 stars
7/25/08 jessica fullerton This was lots of fun. Even poor Brosnan. This reviewer should lighten up. 4 stars
7/24/08 Andrew I don't think this reveiwer even saw the same movie I did the movie was excellent. 5 stars
7/23/08 Lennart Elfgren I enjoyed the movie and reacted favourably to all the things the reviewer did not like. 5 stars
7/20/08 Samantha Pruitt it's really fun, most likely if you're of the female persuasion,i liked it! 4 stars
7/20/08 George Barksdale I was and still am a ABBA music fan and loved thyis movie 5 stars
7/19/08 Jayson One of the best films I've seen so far... 5 stars
7/18/08 Susan Lee It's a fun musical. Not Moulin Rouge or Chicago but the great cast makes it worthwhile 5 stars
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  18-Jul-2008 (PG-13)



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