Netflix review: MAMMA MIA! (2008)

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Yup, I’m really doing this.

In commemoration of the upcoming sequel, MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (2018) I’ve decided that I shouldn’t go in blind and see this… thing. There’s really not much for me to say. I’ve seen enough reviews of this movie online to know that it’s not a good movie, and even an insulting one to romantic comedies. Despite that there’s likely no earthly reason for me to actually watch this, I’m going to subject myself to this torture and go for it because clearly I hate myself and am obsessed with masochism.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Amanda Seyfried (FIRST REFORMED [2018], THE LAST WORD [2017], TED 2 [2015], and the upcoming HERE WE GO AGAIN), Meryl Streep (THE POST [2018], FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS [2016], RICKI AND THE FLASH [2015], and upcoming films HERE WE GO AGAIN and MARY POPPINS RETURNS [2018]), Pierce Brosnan (THE FOREIGNER [2017], ONLY LIVING BOY [2017], and upcoming films HERE WE GO AGAIN and THE KING’S DAUGHTER [2018]), Colin Firth (KINGSMAN 2 [2017], BRIDGET JONES 3 [2016], and upcoming films HERE GO AGAIN and THE HAPPY PRINCE [2018]), and Stellan Skarsgård (OUR KIND OF TRAITOR [2016], AVENGERS: ULTRON [2015], and upcoming films HERE WE GO AGAIN and MUSIC, WAR AND LOVE [2018]). In support Christine Baranski (BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS [2017], MISS SLOANE [2016], and the upcoming HERE WE GO AGAIN [2018]), Dominic Cooper (WARCRAFT [2016], and the upcoming HERE WE GO AGAIN), and Julie Walters (SHERLOCK GNOMES [2018], BROOKLYN [2015], and upcoming films HERE WE GO AGAIN and MARY POPPINS RETURNS).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Phyllida Lloyd, known for THE IRON LADY (2011). Penning the screenplay is Catherine Johnson, known for stuff I’ve never heard of. Co-composing the score are Benny Andersson (THE CIRCLE [2017], and HERE WE GO AGAIN) and Björn Ulvaeus (stuff I’ve never heard of, and the upcoming HERE WE GO AGAIN). The cinematographer is Haris Zambarloukos, known for ORIENT EXPRESS (2017), EYE IN THE SKY (2016), and the upcoming ARTEMIS FOWL (2019). Finally, the editor is Lesley Walker, known for stuff I’ve never seen.

Overall, not looking forward to this. Kill me now, I beg you. Someone. Anyone. Don’t hold back. Show a dude mercy.

This is my honest opinion of: MAMMA MIA!

 

(SUMMARY)

Set in Greece. Donna (Meryl Streep) is the owner of a hotel located on an isolated island, and her daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), is about to get married to loving husband-to-be, Sky (Dominic Cooper). But after rummaging through her mother’s old things, she happens upon a diary that hints at three men who might be the father she never knew: Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), Sam (Pierce Brosnan), and Harry (Colin Firth). Against her mother’s knowledge, she sends invitations to all three men in the desperate hope to be walked down the aisle with her true father.

(REVIEW)

I am utterly convinced that this movie hates me, hates everyone, and hates everything that has ever, and will ever, exist. Where do I even begin with this trainwreck of white noise that is masquerading as a motion picture?

You know what this movie is? It’s all about assholes, or idiots. There’s not one single likable person in the entire movie.

Lets start with Sophie. First off, huge invasion of privacy by reading her mother’s diary. But fine, it hints at who her father might be. However, it derails hard and fast. Sending invitations to all three men without telling Donna or her fiancé? Why?! Maybe I can understand not telling her mom (no I can’t), but Sky? Why would he be opposed to his future wife knowing who her father is? If he’s not going to be supportive of her endeavors, then why in piss-ass would they get married? For that matter, why is Sophie opposed to telling her mom? Fine, Donna wouldn’t like meeting them all after twenty years apart. But if her daughter wants to know who her father is, any REAL parent would hork down their pride and lack of comfort and do what’s right by their child, especially if it means that much to them. Even if Donna vehemently and selfishly says no to the exes coming, there’s still the matter of, you know, DNA testing. Write them up, explain the situation, and do a DNA test instead of them wasting who knows how much of their money and time away from the comfort of their lives for the knowledge that only one or none of these men are the actual father. Oh, and her grand gesture is: invite them and she’ll just know who her father is? Uh, bitch, if that’s really how it works, donate yourself to science and put the DNA testing business out on its ass! But guess freakin’ what? THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!!! Surprise surprise, when they show up, she realizes that’s not how it works. Level with me, is Sophie just a continuation of Seyfried’s character from MEAN GIRLS? Somehow it would make too much sense. You know what? I take that back. At least Karen Smith was charming and funny. Sophie needs psychiatric counseling.

If the young people are portrayed as selfish little assholes, then the adults don’t fare any better as they’re portrayed as @#$%ing morons, or children from a bad sitcom.

Throughout a majority of the movie, well over half, Donna, Sam, Bill, and Harry are absolutely flabbergasted as to why they’re all here at this wedding. The moment Donna sees all three men, she should have been able to put two and two together right away. Maybe one ex showing up on the island is a huge coincidence, but not just two, but all three of her exes, who might very well be the potential fathers of her daughter, nope, that’s a huge neon sign pointing right as Sophie. What makes it worse is that Donna does suspect that Sophie is behind this, starts off to find her, but then… runs away to her room and starts crying in what I can only assume to be a public bathroom. At least, I think that was crying. Streep’s acting is so God-awful that I couldn’t tell if she was crying or laughing. Either way, she had an idea and completely derailed from it and never gets back on track. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it takes the movie- what did I write down? – one hour and two minutes into the runtime for Donna and Sophie to have a single interaction together!

The same could be said about the men. They all find out their relationships toward Donna on the boat ride to the island, so already red flags should have been zipping up. But as soon as they meet Sophie, then everything should have clicked into place. But no, the fact that this girl is twenty years old, is the daughter of their respective ex-girlfriend of twenty years ago, completely illusive! Even once they do figure it out, things don’t improve. Like when Bill storms out of the party and Sophie chases after him, he’s somehow completely certain that he’s the father, with zero evidence to back up the claim. Worse still, Sophie wholly accepts his word and asks him to walk her down the aisle. Then the domino effect takes hold and Sam realizes he might be the father and declares that he’ll walk her down, and only Harry gets the shaft and barely even gets to react before Sophie has a panic attack and faints. GEE, I WONDER HOW THAT HAPPENED!!! Poor judgment regarding who your father might be on the eve of your wedding, both being life-altering changes to your life, I CAN’T IMAGINE HOW THAT WOULD STRESS ANYONE OUT!!! Oh, and that neither of them walks her down the aisle is never addressed again. Nope, no hard feelings whatsoever.

How ’bout them musics, huh? This is, after all, a musical. That’s gotta be good, right? WRONG!!! It gets SO much worse at the movie progresses. Let me get one thing out of the way first. I have nothing against ABBA. I’m also not a fan. I say both of these statements because I don’t listen to their music. Didn’t even know they existed until a few years ago. Can’t hate or love a band that you know nothing about, right? Anyway, the music isn’t the problem… the music isn’t ENTIRELY the problem. For one thing, most of the chosen songs don’t fit the scene. Streep’s rendition of “Mamma Mia” for example: the scene is a woman who has discovered the three men she had romantic flings with twenty years ago all in the same room. The song “Mamma Mia” is about an on-and-off-again toxic relationship that one keeps going back to because of how passionate and wonderful the relationship is. As you can see, two completely different scenarios with zero connection. Donna hasn’t been dating these three men, off and on, over the last twenty years. Hell, even if you took the story until the end credits, she never romantically pursues any of them, so the song “Mamma Mia” makes no sense in any context within the story of the film.

“Dancing Queen” is just as bad. For one thing, we barely get room to breathe before more songs are belted out between numbers, but again, “Dancing Queen” is a simple dance song about a young girl’s night out on the town, looking to dance, and flirt with boys, but the song is ultimately a celebration of the young and single life. The scene in the movie is about Donna not wanting Sophie to know who her dad is and that it’s her “slutty” actions that led up to this point, and that she’s grown up since her youth, and Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) are trying to convince her that she has nothing to feel guilty about. Someone’s probably going to tell me that the spirit of the song’s connection to the scene is that she is still young in her heart. Thing is, that’s not what the lyrics reflect. The easiest save for this movie would have been to change the lyrics to suit the scene better contextually. But nope, like all the songs, I assume, the original lyrics remain. So it’s just awkward to hear these middle-aged women referring to a then-fifty-nine year old Streep that she’s a “young and sweet seventeen.” It’s one thing to think of yourself as a young teenager, but to be sincerely referred to as such… just no.

You see the problem here? It’s clear that the story was made first and some short-sighted moron decided to insert these songs to loosely tie into the scenes they’re inserted into, wherein it should have been the other way around. The songs should have been expanded on with a story that directly ties directly between them thematically. If you take the songs by themselves, it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to accomplish. And yet, this movie botches it at every turn.

Even when the songs do miraculously line up with the scene, they’re sung so horribly that I swear I was having a seizure. Specifically, I’m talking about Brosnan’s singing in “S.O.S.” Damn dude… who kidnapped his family and forced him to be in this? Does Brosnan even have training? Streep is at her worst when she sings “The Winner Takes it All.” I’m honestly damn shocked that my ears weren’t bleeding, she was so bad. Which is weird because there are some songs where she’s not that awful. Her versus during “S.O.S.” were clearly far better than Brosnan’s. So what the hell happened?

Other problems that I have with the movie, let’s see…

“World’s first girl-power band”? Um… The Runaways, Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, The Pussycat Dolls, The Andrews Sisters, point is, shut the @#$% up, movie. Exactly how many times in my movie-watching experience must I see Skarsgård’s bare ass? Fuck everyone who put this wedding together and came out for it, Sophie and Sky decided they’re just going to sail around the world spontaneously. And of course, Donna and Sam have had so little chemistry throughout the film, SURE, just hijack the wedding and make it about them instead. This list can go on forever.

So was there anything… ANYTHING remotely good about the movie? Well… Seyfried’s cat crawl on the beach was strangely pornographic, which got a rise out of me. So if the best thing that I can say about this movie is me getting a boner out of a three second clip of Seyfried in a one-piece swim suit in a scene that wasn’t even really sexual in nature, then there’s something @#$%ed about the movie.

Overall, this is quite possibly one of the most infuriating movies that I’ve ever seen. Holy Christ, this was an endurance test. And really thinking about it now, you will not be able to convince me that this movie isn’t secretly a story about mental illness. I bet you anything that if given enough time, I can find the mental afflictions that each character represents. Sophie is delusional and a compulsive liar. Donna has borderline personality disorder, what with how quick her mood changes in any given scene. Please tell me I’m wrong! I freakin’ dare you! Watching this movie makes me look back on an hour and forty minutes of mistakes. Literally, I had to stop watching this movie after a time and took me two days to finish. I can only imagine the horrors that I’ll witness in the upcoming sequel. Oh God… I am not prepared.

My honest rating for MAMMA MIA!: 1/5

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3 Replies to “Netflix review: MAMMA MIA! (2008)”

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