Cheese Wizards 

Mamma Mia! Lays It on Thick


IT DOESN'T GET any cornier. When ABBA and musical theater joined forces in the form of Mamma Mia!, it tested the outer limits of the universe's capacity for cheese. Of course, like ABBA, it was a wild success. Likewise, and particularly with baby boomers as the current ruling class, the film adaptation starring the virtually unimpeachable Meryl Streep is going to be a slam dunk at the box office.

The plot often exists in mere service to "Dancing Queen," "Take A Chance on Me," etc, but in a nutshell: Streep plays Donna, who leads a "tragic" existence on a picturesque Greek island, a youth of wild times as the frontwoman in an all-female band behind her. One souvenir of her flower power days is Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), her 20-year-old daughter who is about to get married. Donna doesn't know who Sophie's father is, but after snooping in her mom's old diary Sophie narrows it down to three (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth), and secretly invites all of them to the wedding.

It wouldn't be any fun if they didn't all show up, along with Donna's old backup singers (Julie Walters and Christine Baranski), all of whom are on board to recapture the spirit of their youth through nostalgic pop songs, a little booze, and the reclaimed impulsiveness that society has made them believe they are too old for.

If you haven't already gathered, the whole shebang is a lot more concerned with the elder generation than the younger. And while the extreme dorkiness of it all can be difficult to get into (do not even attempt if you are not predisposed), the cast's palpable joy produces some truly great moments. Typically, these theater dorks are having too much fun for the cynics' scorn to wield any power.

Mamma Mia!
Rated PG-13 · 108 min.
Official Site:
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writer: Catherine Johnson
Producer: Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman
Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried and Christine Baranski

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