Visimag home page
About Us
Cult Times
Film Review
Movie Idols
Shivers
Starburst
TV Zone
Ultimate DVD
The Works
Xposé
Links
Shopping Info
Film Byte Archive
Hollywood Hotline
VI jobs

SEARCH
for your own topics
Go to USA site Readers in USA click here

Go to UK/World siteElsewhere click here

Image copyright: see contents page of each issue. All other material © Visual Imagination Ltd 1998 - 2008
Welcome to visimag.com
Film Review Back to filmreview MainPage Contents Buy this issue from UK/World site Buy this issue from USA $ site
Contents Buy this issue from UK/World site Buy this issue from USA $ site

Review: Mamma Mia!

Julie Walters, Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski

STARS
Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried

DIRECTOR
Phyllida Lloyd

SCREENPLAY
Catherine Johnson

CERTIFICATE
PG

DISTRIBUTOR
Universal

RUNNING TIME
1hr 38mins

COUNTRY
UK/USA

OPENS
July 10

RATING
2/5

Mamma Mia! The Movie will no doubt find its audience. There will be women of a certain age who will embrace its joie de vivre. And there will be men of a certain persuasion who will adore its kitsch appeal. Beyond these two demographics, though, the movie skids into the arena of cultural car crash. While on stage the flimsy conceit of Catherine Johnson’s `story’ is bulked up with showbiz razzmatazz, on the big screen its thinness is stretched into diaphanous toffee.

Like Across the Universe, Mamma Mia! is a collection of hit songs in search of a storyline. But unlike the former, it has established its theatrical legs, playing in 170 cities across the globe. Songs like Honey, Honey and Money, Money have been twisted and tweaked to serve new narrative ends, ending up both as a vibrant paeon to Abba and a sort of Shirley Valentine on amphetamines.

Here, we have Meryl Streep as Donna, a doughty, hard-working single mother running a ramshackle hotel on a Greek island. Her daughter, Sophie (Seyfried), is getting married and, behind Donna’s back, has invited the three men that her mother slept with around the time of her conception. Sophie feels that until she discovers the identity of her father, she cannot know who she really is. And so Pierce Bosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård roll up, each to claim the daughter they never knew they had.

Watching the likes of Karen Silkwood, James Bond and Mr Darcy grapple with the familiar hooks of Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulraeus’ timeless tunes is akin to indulging in some kind of blood sport. While, as ever, Ms Streep rises dynamically to the occasion, Brosnan is laughed off the screen as he manfully butchers SOS (‘How can I even try to go on…’). The real star is Christine Baranski, who brings spit and polish to her role as Donna’s friend, Tanya.

There’s gusto to spare, but in the cultural banquet of the film musical, this is strictly choux pastry.

by James Cameron-Wilson

Read the reviews of the moment in
Film Review (Jul)

Photo © Universal Pictures
Review © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Jul), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jul)
#698, July 2008
ships from Jun 23 2008
News-stand Price

UK £3.99 / US $8.99

VI Direct Click on one of the choices below to buy
.
Buy it now!

VI DIRECT
Stores Info

You can order any of
our magazines via this
secure service.
To buy this issue:

Jump to UK £ entry for this issue
UK/World order
Jump to US $ entry for this issue
USA $ order

To SUBSCRIBE to
FILM REVIEW, use these
links to our stores:

Jump to UK £ entry for this issue
UK/World subs
Jump to US $ entry for this issue
USA $ subs
Visimag.com logo