Monday, January 24, 2011

2008 - MAMMA MIA, I give up or why don't we all just give up

From TBS this weekend a horror film marathon.  Mamma Mia the musical was run three times over three nights, it couldn't be avoided.  The film stars would be musical comedy sensation Meryl Streep chewing more scenery than is available on the Greek island they shot the film on. 

The idea is to put together a film that's good campy fun.  Well they got the campy part right.  Middle aged Meryl and her equally middle aged friends and ex boyfriends sing a lot of ABBA songs.   24 to be exact, I didn't realize that Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson had been so prolific.

Since the filmmakers have hired a cast of non singers and dancers to perform the songs, lots of frenzied editing is used to cover up their inability to sing and dance.  Everyone is encouraged to run or skip or jump around like preschoolers at recess.  This lets the audience know how much fun they are having.

Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire would spend months perfecting dance routines for their films, Meryl and her cast of merry music makers probably gave it 5 or 10 minutes of thought during the after filming happy hours they must have been having.

A lot has been made of John Wayne's ridiculous performance as Genghis Khan in the Conqueror, but 16 time Academy Award nominee Meryl can certainly give him a run for his money.  She runs around acting like a hysterical nutcase for most of the film.

When she isn't acting like a hysterical nutcase she's singing like a hysterical nutcase the rest of the time. Meryl's idea of performing ranges from her subtle interpretation of a raging psychotic to her method actorory singing performances which channel an epileptic having continuous grand mal seizures.

Mamma Mia made a lot of money but artistically the film is a complete failure.  It's hard to believe that there could be a musical worse than, Hello Dolly, Star or On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, but this could be the nadir for film musicals.  Mamma Mia makes At Long Last Love look like a masterpiece.

110 minutes

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