Posted on 11/19/12 01:48 PM
It would be discourteous of me not to reveal, before I start ripping into this movie, that I had already made up my mind I wasn't going to like it. I generally hate musicals, chick-flicks, and ABBA, but I knew my wife wanted to see the film. She's my polar opposite regarding the aforementioned traits, so I fought back the urge to scoff and decided I was willing to tolerate the film for her benefit. How could I say no?
The premise is clever. I honestly didn't think someone could take ABBA's lyrics and weave a coherent movie out of them, but writer Catherine Johnson manages to do just that. And that's where my praise ends.
Mamma Mia! is like the perky cheerleader who lives next door, the one whose cat you hope dies so she'll stop bouncing around so much. There's a lot of dancing and eye-rolling and dreamy island locales and estrogen-laden stereotypes. For instance, we're invited to believe that three middle-aged men, all of them stupidly rich and amazingly single, are willing to drop their lives and travel to Greece because they believe a summer-screw from the seventies sent them letters of invitation. Not ridiculous enough? Then I'm afraid I can't help you.
Who told Pierce Brosnan he could sing? Who wants to hear him sing again? Ever? Or...oh, God, I'll stop now...I could go on and on about this, but I'd just end up alienating myself from the Prozac contingency. The script is a neutron star of prepubescent pigtail fantasies.
Mamma Mia! also solidifies my prejudice against films that show old people sowing their wild oats. I get no joy from octogenarians dancing like children or insinuating that, come midnight, they're going to light the bedsheets on fire. It's the reason I hated Cocoon when I was a teenager. It's the reason Space Cowboys makes me cringe. I call it the "Elvis Factor." There's a group of people out there who think that seeing a guy dressed up like Elvis Presley is inherently funny. These are the same people who think talking babies are inherently funny. These are the same people, I might add, who think that a grandma strutting around like a Studio 54 rollergirl is inherently funny. It was for these people that Mamma Mia! was made.