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Sophie has just one want to make her wedding perfect: to have her father walk her down the aisle. Now she just has to find out who he is…Sign up for the music, laughter and fun of the irresistibly charming Mamma Mia! The Movie. Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast, including Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth – in addition to up-and-comers Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, in this musical celebration of mothers, daughters and fathers, and true loves lost and new ones found. Based on the Broadway smash-hit and filled with the ABBA songs you know and love, it’s the feel-good experience so that it will have you singing and dancing over and over.
The delirious sight of Meryl Streep leading a river of multigenerational women singing “Dancing Queen” is likely one of the high points of Mamma Mia!, the musical built around the songs of the hugely popular pop group ABBA. The plot sets in motion when Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, Mean Girls), daughter of Donna (Streep), sends a letter to three men, inviting them to her wedding–because after reading her mother’s diary, she suspects that one of them is her father. When all three arrive at the Greek island where Donna runs a hotel, Donna flips out and finds that passions she thought she’d laid aside are coming back to life. But let’s face it, the plot is not the point–it’s a ridiculous contrivance that provides an excuse for the characters to sing the massive hits of ABBA. Regrettably, first-time film director Phyllida Lloyd (who directed the original stage production) has drawn over-the-top performances from everyone involved, even Streep; every production number hammers its exuberance into your eyeballs. Which is too bad, because Mamma Mia! is a rarity: A middle-aged love story. The kids start things off, but the story is actually about Streep and the three guys (former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, former Mr. Darcy Colin Firth, and Swedish star Stellan Skarsgard), in addition to Donna’s best friends (Christine Baranski, best known from the TV show Cybill, and Julie Walters, Calendar Girls). It’s a romantic comedy aimed at the people who were around when some of these songs were new, and that is the reason an age group Hollywood largely ignores. For that alone, Mamma Mia! deserves to find an audience. —Bret Fetzer
Stills from Mamma Mia! (Click for larger image)