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MAMMA MIA, 2008
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MAMMA MIA MOVIE POSTER
MAMMA MIA
Movie Review
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular '70s group ABBA.

REVIEW:

ABBA music is the inspiration sounds of the 20th century. Anytime you hear one of their songs, you can't help but feel good about yourself and motivated to bring the best out of yourself - no matter who you are. So it was an easy decision to turn their songs into a musical, which became a hit. And an easier decision to turn that hit into a feature film. Which is what we now have.

Mamma Mia is loaded with a talented cast of actors past the mid-point mark in their careers. And each of them gets to have a lot of fun singing and dancing - most for the first time in their lives. They are lead by the Godmother of Actors in Meryl Streep who gets most of the singing and dancing moments and does an awkward job doing it. In fact, this could be the worst performance of her career, and I just assume she knows that with someone of her vast intelligence and career planning smarts.

I do have to say though that her and the others in this mix tried their best, but there's nothing in this film that's a comfortable experience (with the exception of a terrific Cougar-esque musical number with Christine Baranski) for the viewer and that's the exact opposite of what Mamma Mia should be.

The musical brings life to the audience and if you've seen it, you can't help but be a tad weepy eyed in the most positive sense. But the movie version of Mamma Mia forgot do to something very important - make it a cinematic experience.

Nothing stood out in this film as it was like they filmed the musical itself, thinking that this was going to satisfy the two dimensional experience. A major error on director Phyllida Lloyd, who has probably made her first and last feature film.

I guess the word FLAT would describe this film the best. Mamma Mia the movie was like opening up a bottle of Coca-cola in the hot summer day that has no sizzle. You're thirsty so you take a sip, but you know that it's going to taste bad because it didn't have it's usual opening.

And it wasn't the performances at all (which are sketchy but can be dealt with in the right hands) or the way they handled the plot in the screenplay. This was a film that never really let you in as you always seemed far removed from the experience. And there's a lot of irony in that considering it's ABBA music of all things. It's too bad too for star Amanda Seyfried, who had a role that could of made her career take off. This is a girl with loads of talent who is also a pretty good singer. I first spotted her as one of the daughters on the show Big Love and I knew she was a star in the making. You can't help but follow her and that's a rare gift she has. Someone who should have a long career ahead of them.

Mamma Mia just doesn't cut it. Save your money for the musical as it will be a much better experience.


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