I’ve always thought that ABBA’s music was danceable, if vacuous. But I never realized how little the music had to say until it was knit together to support the narrative behind the movie “Mamma Mia!” (Their exclamation point, not mine.) The plot revolves around Sophie Sheridan (played by Amanda Seyfried, who’s great on HBO’s “Big Love”) planning her wedding. She dreams of being given away by the father she never knew. But in this case there are three possible fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård). So she invites all three while somehow managing to conceal the real reason they’ve arrived from both them and her mother (Meryl Streep). It’s occasionally amusing, but never really funny. There were also two musical surprises in “Mamma Mia!” worth noting: Meryl Streep can sing, Pierce Brosnan shouldn’t. Frankly, I’m not sure why this movie became such a hit, or why the Broadway show in New York City packs in the tourists. So maybe I’m missing something. But I stand by my tweet: Mamma Mia!-Of all the movies featuring an ABBA-exclusive soundtrack, this is the best. 4.5 (out of 10) If you’re looking for a movie with a song catalog-backed narrative, I’d recommend “Across the Universe.” The music is better and the staging is much more inventive.
Length: 108 minutes
Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Genre(s): Adaptation, Romantic Comedy, Musical