Mamma Mia! (2008)

(On DVD, sometime mid-2009) I’m not that familiar with the original stage jukebox musical, but even I know that it’s a frothy romantic comedy built around a number of ABBA songs. As such, the film adaptation Mamma Mia! does service to the concept: It’s lighthearted, romantic, and features a series of numbers based on ABBA songs. As three older men converge on a Greek island where an ex-flame and her daughter live, it’s the film’s smallest mystery to find out who is the girl’s father. Much of the time is spend singing and dancing, helped along by the inescapable (and somewhat delightful) fact that ABBA’s music has inserted itself deeply into modern pop culture. The result may be kitsch, but it’s familiar and comfortable kitsch without a mean bone and with an inordinate desire to please. It is, in other words, almost impossible to dislike. The actors involved aren’t all good singers, but it’s part of the film’s charm to see Pierce Brosnan croon, even hoarsely, to Meryl Streep. Amanda Seyfried is cute as a Muppet as the daughter with a mystery father, and the fantastic Greek scenery adds a lot to the film’s sunny atmosphere. Mamma Mia! isn’t high art, but sometimes campy pop is more than good enough.

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