Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia! or How it's all in good fun!

Mamma Mia!
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Written by: Catherine Johnson (with songs by ABBA!)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski & Julie Walters.

To say Mamma Mia! is a treat to watch (granted you're into saccharine catchy songs and feel good-time stories) is probably an understatement. Sure, there are some slow-motion shots that don't quite seem to work and feel forced, and sure there are some singing actors that shouldn't really call themselves that (*ahem Brosnan ahem*), and sure the entire film is set up as a pretext for showcasing the songs (and the actors who love singing and dancing 'em)... but despite these 'problems' (and the initial cringe moments as you sink into the tone and style of the film) Mamma Mia! is a really fun movie to experience mainly in the strength of its actors and the campy crazy fun of it all:

Meryl as Donna: She really is the Super Trouper of the film. To lose herself with such abandon in the world of MM! is really a testament to her acting (and singing!) chops. She feels so natural playing Donna - whether it's singing and dancing in crazy outfits, or using a shawl as a prop with more gusto than more actresses can do with their entire bodies. 

Amanda as Sophie: Take a Chance on me? Hell yes! Such a natural in front of the camera (even when surrounded by toned, tanned, and oiled up performing dancers!) - it's good to see Karen Smith moving up in the world.

Pierce as Sam: S.O.S! The reason Mr Brosnan was able to play Remington Steele and James Bond was because those roles required the stagnant indifferent pose that he has down to a dime. Sadly, campy singing just comes off as awkward and... cringe-worthy.

Colin as Harry: Good to see Mr Darcy playing a good ol' Dancing Queen (and shirtless no less!)

Stellan as Bill: I still can't believe at the end he's saying I do, I do, I do, I do, I do... mainly 'cause I've never been a fan of the 'let's pair everyone off at the end' ending. Still, Skarsgard did well in the least musically and dancing-ey role in the cast.

Dominic as Sky (and while we're at it: Sky?!): Gimme! Gimme! Gimme... more of Mr Cooper! Especially when his costumes are swimming shorts, pink tights and his ever dashing smile.

Christine as Tanya: Honey, Honey, why is it that Ms Baranski glistens in everything she's in adding a certain old-school appreciation for over the top antics and great singing? Cause she's a pro - especially with a drink in her hand.

Julie as Rosie: Voulez vous have as much fun as Ms Walters did? Cause I do.

So, Chiquitita, this might not be the dark masterpiece (and box office SMASH!) that The Dark Knight is shaping up to be, but if TDK is sold out you won't regret stopping by to hang out with Meryl and Amanda. B+

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