image source: Universal Pictures

Review: Mamma Mia! (2008) *****

Mamma Mia! came out at the same time as The Dark Knight. I’ve seen multiple comparisons to Barbenheimer (15 years apart), and I think it’s apt. The parallel sticks out to me because it’s definitely the reason I haven’t seen Mamma Mia! until now. At that point, I was absolutely not interested in some girly disco musical, especially standing in opposition to a Nolan comic book movie.

It’s probably for the best that I grew up a bit. I don’t think I had the sincere heart or feminine slant to love Mamma Mia! yet, and I probably would have just hated it for all the terrible singing. Corny also feels like a descriptor I may have used.

Much time later, I have grown an appreciation for movies where it looks like the cast and crew just wanted a nice vacation. You know? Everyone in Mamma Mia! looks to be having an amazing time. They’re tanned, happy, drunk, and everyone has so much chemistry, you fully believe the relationships are lifelong.

It’s cute how little is going on with the guys, honestly. These three actors were summoned together to be Hot Dad Guys and enjoy the drunk tan vacation. Half the time, they barely interact meaningfully with one another; they’re just hunky props to stand in as dad/husband for the tropes deployed.

Meryl Streep sings badly with gusto, dances with abandon, and wears the best makeup. Christine Baranksi is in this too because you just can’t do musicals without Christine Baranski? She’s the only one who actually sings well. I’m told the low-skill singing is because you’re supposed to sing over them the whole time anyway, but I don’t actually know ABBA well enough for that. I have no choice but to hear Meryl Streep shout-sing her heart out and I sincerely admire her commitment. It wouldn’t work if she didn’t put her whole Streepussy into it.

I just can’t overstate how much everyone seemed to have fun. I’ve grown into someone whose favorite feeling is compersion, and I love vicariously experiencing what may have been one of the better film-vacations of these folks’s lives. The story is really cute. The scenery is so lovely. Colin Firth is full homo. I really liked this.

(image source: Universal Pictures)

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