You probably have a list of films that you’ve always meant to see but have somehow slipped by; for me those have included Julia and Julia (about an amateur cook/blogger and chef Julia Child), The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (about memories? I still haven’t seen it) and until recently, Mamma Mia (a musical featuring ABBA songs). Well, the latter film is off my list of Mean To See and onto a new one: Worst Movies I’ve Ever Suffered Through.
Mamma Mia is appallingly over-acted, ineptly sung, gaudy (and not in a good way), hideously costumed, nonsensically written, and is almost enough to put an unsuspecting person off the catchy, joyful sing-along tunes of the Swedish pop group, ABBA, forever.
I should have know better when the opening scene was a jaw-dropper (and not in a good way): three 30-something twenty-year olds screeching out a melody I can only assume once made sense while dancing (allegedly) in the Greek countryside. Why Greek? Good question.
The mystifying setting and the stupefying use of Greek people and culture as a backdrop to the nonsense should have at least provided some distraction from the stupidity of the plot, but no, it was just another cringeworthy element of a movie that was so full of cringe that I was almost a crumpled ball of skin by its end.
Sure, Meryl Streep soldiers her way through, flinging her arms about during musical numbers in a touching display of misplaced trust in the director, who surely drugged all the actors. Directing the group dance scenes must have involved mass hypnosis. “Make it big! Make it CAMPY!” Cringe.
The less said about Pierce Brosnan’s acting and “singing”, the better. And I should be clear: this is not a production that joins the ranks of movies so bad they are good. This one is just bad.
To be fair, there was one highlight. Despite a winter cold that causes me to croak so alarmingly that it frightens the new puppy, I did start to sing along to the song “Super Trouper”, which awakened said puppy. She leapt to her feet and ran to me, sat and stared as if she’d never been so enchanted. “Super trouper lights are gonna find me, Shining like the sun!” I croaked loudly to my enraptured Holly pup. She crawled into my lap and we had a moment.
Super trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you!
ABBA, why didn’t you sue?