This Mamma Mia! picture… there’s actual singing in it, right? We know Meryl Streep can carry a tune, and Christine Baranski can belt it out with the best of ‘em, so isn’t it a little strange to sell a movie musical with two consecutive trailers of all dancing and no singing whatsoever? It makes the film look like a wild lip-syncing extravaganza, which I’m pretty sure it ain’t. Are we down on musicals again after the box office underperformance of Sweeney Todd? Or is the director currently in the process of pulling a full Marni Nixon on all of her actors?
I’m an unapologetic musical buff, but the only enticing element in Mamma Mia! is Amanda Seyfried; Abba was cool and corny in a retro way back when I was in college, but then Muriel’s Wedding came along and fucked everything up. Speaking of Muriel’s Wedding, did the producers drop to their knees and beg P.J. Hogan to direct this? I know Phyllida Lloyd’s a big-shot in British theater, but the trailer makes her work looks a bit flat; here’s hoping she’s more Sam Mendes than Trevor Nunn.
The premise of Mamma Mia! (apparently, it’s not just two hours of attractive folk prancing about to Swedish pop music) has to do with a young bride-to-be’s search for her real father. After sneaking a peek in her mother’s diary (and learning of the old cow’s affinity for a good stiff one), she invites the three most likely candidates to her wedding. Judging from the trailer, this delights her 10,000 gay friends.
Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth play the potential papas, while the great Julie Walters figures into the action somehow. You’ll begin avoiding Mamma Mia! on July 18th.