Starring: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Running Time: 108 mins
Mamma Mia! is an British film, based on the hit West End musical, about a young woman, on the eve of her wedding, who secretly invites three men to attend, in order to find out who her birth father is.
Right, let me get one thing straight: I really like ABBA, and all of their songs, so that has nothing to do with why I despise this film. What really makes me hate it is the ridiculous story, poor acting, largely terrible singing, and unbelievably screechy dialogue.
I haven’t seen the stage show, even though it’s been going for so long, but I’ve been told that it’s a good bit of fun, and those who have told me that even agree that the film doesn’t live up to what the show is.
The problem with this film is that it so brilliantly manages to encompass countless niggly and irritating elements, which turn this film from what should be a bit of simple fun to a hugely frustrating and constantly annoying watch, leaving it as a truly painful viewing experience.
Firstly, the singing. Again, there’s no problem at all with the songs themselves, but the fact that they’ve got your A-list actors singing them is nearly deafening. It’s a similar problem to Les Miserables, however barely anyone can sing in this. Meryl Streep’s surprisingly poor, and Pierce Brosnan suffers from a bit of Russell Crowe syndrome, which doesn’t help at all.
Then, the story. More a problem with the original show, but it definitely doesn’t work. It’s too much of a farce to be at all credible, yet it’s not funny enough for the farce to work effectively, leaving it again unbelievably irritating and quite dull to watch.
The worst thing about the story, and the dialogue, is how it’s so evidently built around the ABBA songs, so when you’ve got that brief bit of speaking just before a song comes in, it feels so forced and unnatural that it completely ruins the illusion of the story.
It’s interesting to see how the film tries to mirror the play as much as possible, and despite seeming like a good enough idea, it has ONE BIG PROBLEM. On a stage, without a microphone, actors are required to shout to get themselves heard, which is fine.
However, in a film you can hear the characters perfectly well, so there’s no need for anybody to screech their dialogue. That’s what this film does, which is definitely its most annoying feature, and along with the terrible singing, it actually ends up being a truly deafening movie.
Overall, this gets a 3.5, because of its poor story, acting, singing and dialogue, despite having a great soundtrack.