Mamma Mia!
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgrd, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski. Musical Romantic Comedy. Written by Catherine Johnson. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Based on the Songs of ABBA. Music and Lyrics by Benny Andersson, Bjrn Ulvaeus.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast in the feature-film adaptation of the musical that has been seen by more than 30 million people in 160 cities and 8 languages around the world. An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna (Streep) is about to let go of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the spirited daughter shes raised alone. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, Sophie has secretly invited three men from her mothers past.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Warning: This is a CHICK flick. Sorry for that expression, ladies, but I have to alert the fellas. Mamma Mia! will become the poster child for chick flicks. This, should you decide to test my assertion, will be quickly detected during the obligatory opening scene(s) where the bride is reunited with her two bestest girlfriends. Theres squealing and the collective reciting of their one-time secret motto, then more squeals. After that, and the opening syrupy group song Honey, Honey, comes mother Meryl, along with her two bestest girlfriends (more squeals, a chanted motto, and more squealing). Guys say, hey after years apart. Gals evidently squeal. At least they do in the movies. Thats the tip off. Thats how you know youve entered the chick genre.

As a reminder throughout, we are given several scenes that can only be identified asflamboyant. And then comes one characters gay pronouncement. This is often done in the chick flick. And then theres the sight of the three male stars, including Pierce Brosnan, Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, himself, in colorful outfits and platform shoes doing a drag-like dance number.

For me, there is a saving grace in Mamma Mia! While I had to endure sloppy camera placement and unimpressive choreography, not to mention a lot of over-the-top humor (bawdiness and a naked male butt always highlight the CHICK flick), we are once again given the miraculous Meryl Streep. A fellow critic leaned over during one of Meryls numbers and said, I didnt know she could sing. She can do anything, I responded. And thats a fact. Chameleon like, Ms. Streep becomes an entirely new person with each role, while still injecting her own persona into the different characterizations. Shes witty, she touches the soul, and always fun to watch. I remember Katherine Hepburn as astounding. Ms. Streep may be even better.

The screening audience seemed to know the stage production and therefore anticipated each number with a glee reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Shows cult following. Leaving the theater, I got the distinct impression that this was a crowd pleaser. But it left me cold. Though I appreciated ABBA back in the day, still something about this adaptation left me unmoved.

I always look forward to musicals, because they are as rare as westerns, and I like a good chick flick (Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Enchanted April), but along with the corruptive messages (this gal loved one of the guys, but when he left, within weeks, she slept with two others free love and living together outside marriage are embraced in the story), Mamma Mia! was a bit too broad, a little too70s extravagant, with most songs accompanied by stacked shoes and multi-colored feathery boas. This is a movie women may enjoy more with their hairdressers than with their husbands.

Embarrassing moment: Pierce Brosnan singing SOS. Ill give him this: hes got more guts than James Bond.

DVD Alternative: Enchanted April. A delightful fable about four women in 1920s London escaping inattentive husbands and repressed lifestyles by renting a castle in Portofino. They soon discover the estate has a magical effect on all those who stay there. Witty dialogue, dreamy cinematography, and savory performances from Joan Plowright, Polly Walker and the rest of the cast.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: Several bawdy moments, mostly in the songs, with the ladies making sexual remarks and a couple of times using inanimate objects as phallic symbols.
Obscene Language: A few minor expletives and I thought I heard the f-word twice, though each was mumbled.
Profanity: The expression Oh My God and variations of it are muttered by every female in the cast at one point or another.
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Several sexual innuendos and descriptions of sexual antics past.
Nudity: Bare male backside in one scene.
Homosexual Conduct: A man declares that he is gay; he gets affectionate while dancing with another man.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some drinking.
Other:
Running Time: 108 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

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