Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mamma Mia!: Grade F

Mamma Mia! (2008)
Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgaard, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski; Director Phyllida Lloyd.

I know, I know! I am the only person in America who did not like this movie, and I apologize for that. I tried to like it. I like musicals. I like these actors a lot. I like a lot of color and movement on the screen. I like romantic comedies. I just could not find any redeeming virtue here. Yet the movie is hugely popular, so obviously I was not in the right mood or maybe I am from Mars.

I did not see the Broadway show, so this movie was my only introduction to the work. It started out very slowly, and then got even slower. The story could not be more trite or less believable: an apparently American young woman (Seyfried) living on a Greek island with her mother (Streep) is going to get married, and decides to invite three men who once dated her mother. One of them, she figures, must be her father. She does not advise the mother of her plan, and the men do not know each other. Imagine the hilarity that ensues. Singing hilarity of course, since it is a musical. But alas, I did not care for the songs. The music was by ABBA, a well-known popular band from the 1970’s but it was not my cup of tea. And, while Streep can acquit herself without too much embarrassment when singing, Brosnan definitely cannot. He was excruciating to hear. The others, so-so. There was not one outstanding warbler in the bunch.

Acting? What acting? How can you act in a story like this, characters like these? There is nothing to act about. The whole thing was so artificial, any performance would be as arbitrary as any other. There was no pathos, no joy, no nothing. The non-singing dialog was supposed to be witty, I think, but it was beyond lame. No dancing either. There was lots of twirling and farcical gestures and jumping into the sea, but no dancing. Putting 60-year old Streep (or her stunt double) on a wire made her look sprightly, albeit like a Jack-in-the-box, but not like a dancer. Nor did I get any sense of sun, surf, and laid-back Zorba-time in the Greek isles. Like I said, I’m Martian. Sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be sorry, I agree with you.
    so now there are two that found the movie excruciting.
    Well except for Colin Firth. I think he is perfect no matter what he does.