Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Capsule Review: Mamma Mia!

Movie: Mamma Mia!
Director/Studio: Phyllida Lloyd / Universal
10 Word Review: Great leading ladies, but Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie something more consistent.

Best Thing About It: There are some numbers that are as vibrant and enthusiastic as the best Broadway musicals. When this film celebrates its youth and beauty and gets everybody up in everybody else's business, it's very difficult not to smile and tap your foot. On the other hand...

Worst Thing About It: ...There are other numbers that are the equivalent of jabbing you with a sharp stick, demanding your attention by being too loud and gaudy to ignore. Some of these songs are filmed like really terrible music videos. The baffling decision to cast Pierce Brosnan, who cannot sing, in a role that requires an awful lot of singing, comes a close second. Did he really bring a whole lot to the table, star-power-wise? I'm at a loss to explain this. Also, the whole Colin Firth gay subplot is handled clumsily, to the point of incoherence.

Best Performance: Let it be known that there are few bigger fans of Meryl Streep than me, and she's wonderful here. But Amanda Seyfried is where it's at, you guys. If there's any justice, this makes her a HUGE star. She gives the best vocals of the whole cast, she's got acting chops to keep up with her on-screen mom, and she's almost too beautiful to bear. If I could legally marry two people at once, I'd find myself a Greek island and get hitched to Seyfriend and Dominic Cooper (and their lovely, giant eyes) and live in glowing bliss for the rest of my days.

Oscar Prospects: Probably nothing. Maybe costumes, if the Academy's feeling an overall lack of HOLY GOD TACKY. Meryl should have an easy get at a Golden Globe nomination, though.

Grade: B-


patty m. said...

Decidedly mixed reactions on this film for me, and I think I've figured out why. Seyfried is incandescent, and I love me some Streep, but it was like they were acting in different media here. Meryl and friends were doing a stage production, complete with larger-than-life facial expressions and body language, that screamed WE'RE HAVING FUN. AREN'T WE KOOKY?! Seyfried's performance was much better suited to film, where the picture is larger than life so the expressions can be more subtle. Brosnan is pretty, but someone who could sing would have been better. (Maybe Hugh Jackman, if they aged him up a bit.) And the resolution for the other male leads was incredibly unsatisfying. What's that rule about how an Aphrodite's Fountain in the first act will go off in the third?

Yet, yes, I felt giddy during some of the musical numbers, and the Grecian island looked luminous, and the younger cast was delicious. Hrmph.

deirdre said...

So between Cooper and James McAvoy is Starter for 10 permanently in your DVD player then?

Joe Reid said...

Heh. You'd think so, wouldn't you? It's a good movie, and I watch it when it pops up on HBO, but it didn't really grab me. I mean, Dominic Cooper's wearing jeans, t-shirt, and a leather jacket, which is like eighteen too many layers, you know?

The pervasiveness of The Cure in that movie is the real hotness.

Kel said...

I totally agree that Amanda Seyfried should be a big star from this. I've been following her since she was on All My Children, and I am thrilled to see her doing so well.

Pierce Brosnan cannot sing, true, but I found myself glad that they DIDN'T dub him with someone else because it was just so, I don't know, almost sweet how he really committed to the part. I mean, be glad, because Sam has, like, three more songs in the stage show.

The Harry subplot is also much better handled onstage, IIRC. (It's been about 6 years since I saw it.)

I have seen it twice already. Between Mamma Mia! and the upcoming Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, my desire to go to Greece for vacation has increased exponentially.

Rural Juror said...

Dominic Cooper was in Starter for Ten?! Oh my god.

Linda said...

I have to be honest -- my sister and I really kind of enjoyed this movie. It may be because I have a long history of enjoying cheeseball movie musicals, but I really was surprised at how enjoyable the movie was, given how hard on it a lot of reviewers were.

I agree about Pierce Brosnan; that first really serious song where he's all emoting and stuff absolutely brought down the house in the theater I was in, and not in a "laughing with you" kind of way. I've never seen such universal hilarity at something not meant to be funny (the terrible-ness of his singing voice). When I realized that he really was going to sing the emotional finale song, I was sort of in disbelief.

I thought everyone in it was terrific and right in their respective wheelhouses. It's cheesy and corny, but everyone in the entire theater stayed through both parts of the credits sequence, and I cannot remember the last time I saw that happen with any movie. It's not awesome, but I think the critical response has been unfair.

movie buff said...

I was coerced into seeing Mamma Mia (the play), which ended up being great... as for the movie version, sounds fun, though it's awkward to think of ol' Pierce trying to sing, yeeesh