Plot: The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular ’70s group ABBA.
It was at 8 minutes and 3 seconds in when I realised I would despise this film. While it is one of Meryl’s biggest hits of the past decade, I hadn’t actually seen Mamma Mia before this week. I’ll admit, I was a bit snobbish about it upon its release and starting this year of Streep only intensified that instinct. When people learned of my project and would tell me they had seen a few of Meryl’s films, my first two guesses would be The Devil Wear Prada and Mamma Mia. While ‘Prada’ is a brilliant film that I have seen many times, this one was deserving of any preconceptions I had about it.
I will not be muscled out by an e… jaculation
To start with, I have never been the biggest fan of ABBA. I do not actively dislike them, but an experience when I visited an ‘authentic’ Italian eaterie a few years ago cemented my feelings towards them. After playing a few dead classy tracks like Bublé Sinatra covers and Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Time To Say Goodbye’, the restaurant then proceeded to play ABBA Gold in its entirety, on a loop. If you haven’t eaten a bowl of mushroom ravioli while listening to Chiquitita, you haven’t lived.
The main problem with this film is the plot is paper thin. I am not foolish enough to spend my time searching for a deep, life-altering message in a musical based on the songs of a Swedish pop group, but the story seems to have solely been created to fill the gaps between each tightly-produced musical number. Therein lies why I rank this as one of my least favourite Meryl films, because the demands on her acting abilities are minimal.
The film was not completely charmless, as separate performances I enjoyed some of the songs especially ‘The Winner Takes It All’ opposite Pierce Brosnan (the less said about his vocal performances the better). Despite this, the synchronised pier dancing for ‘Dancing Queen’, Julie Walters’ permanent brassiness and Dominic Cooper’s slimy little face are too painful to even consider witnessing again. The worst Meryl film of the year so far.