MAMMA MIA! (*1/2) - Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd.
Yikes. I'm glad everyone looks like they're having fun, but wow, what a trainwreck.
Movie musicals need leeway to get everything set up, and then you can swept up in the show. The good ones, like Chicago or Hairspray, can hook its audience right away. This one doesn't benefit from that great opening number. Where it lost me though was its first big number. "Dancing Queen" is when the whole island joins in, and the choreography is terrible. It's embarrassing to watch them do the same moves I've seen in school musicals.
Meryl Streep leads the hands-waving-in-the-air parade to the pier, and then they break into this jazz-hands, hip-shake thing that looks improved on the fly. Its chorus isn't rousing; it's a welcome signal that the end of this number is nigh.
Then there's Pierce Brosnan's... valiant attempt to sing. And Christine Baranski's creepy cougar number.
The plot's a flimsy thing about a girl inviting three guys to her wedding, any of whom could be her real dad. It's an excuse to string some ABBA tunes together, which should be doable. The ending's silly, and a bit painful since Brosnan's vocals come into play. It's supposed to be escapist fluff entertainment, but yeesh, would that it had a better director! Too many numbers feel forced, too many cast members feign fun, and too many of the songs fall flat.