Mamma Mia! (2008) (part 2 of 3)
Sam and Donna arrive at the church, having settled nothing. Everybody watches Sophie and Sky get married, until the question comes up of who’s giving the bride away. Sam, Harry, and Bill all stand up at once. They each look in amazement at the other two. On an unrelated note, I just finished a jigsaw puzzle in two weeks. I’m pretty proud because it says right on the box, “Four to six years.”
If this happened in the real world, I would expect fisticuffs. But this is not the real world. Here, the three men tell Sophie that she’s so special and amazing that they would each be happy being only one-third of her father. And Sophie is okay with that.
So here’s the big Mamma Mia! spoiler: The essential question of the movie—the MacGuffin which drives all the action, the dilemma we’ve been waiting ninety minutes for the movie to resolve—never gets answered. Who is Sophie’s father? Nobody. Everybody. I could be Sophie’s father. It wouldn’t matter, though, because I never would have made it up the mountain.
Believe it or not, there’s more stupidity ahead of us than behind.
Sophie now knows what she truly wants. She wants to not get married. Jebus, I hate her. She and Sky are going to get off this tiny island and see the world. A) I don’t know why they couldn’t see the world as a married couple, and B) good luck getting off the island, because Locke blew up the submarine.
But Sky and everybody else are happy about all of these developments. So, movie over? Oh, you insolent fool. This is a musical, and there’s a priest. Somebody has to get married.
And that somebody is… Sam, who proposes to Donna on the spot. He says he’s a divorced man with two grown sons (though they can’t be older than 19), and he wants to live on Dilapidos and help Donna run the hotel. He sings his love for her, and she responds, “I do.” And then she says, “I do, I do, I do, I do, I do,” because those are the lyrics to the ABBA song.
They get married right then and there. Apparently, there’s no need for paperwork on Dilapidos. The day is saved.
And yet, the movie continues to get more stupid. We follow everyone to the wedding reception, where Sam makes a toast that sounds a lot like an ABBA song. It moves Rosie to hop up on a table and demand that Bill take a chance on her. She chases him as he climbs a drainpipe and crawls across a roof. So Bill eventually realizes that an ABBA song is a cogent argument for falling in love with her.
Everybody is now paired up: Sophie and Sky (unmarried and sexy); Sam and Donna (married and unsexy); Rosie and Bill (unmarried, unsexy); Tanya and some island guy (gross and disturbing); and Harry and some island guy (gross and disturbing, not that there’s anything wrong with it).
Even for a musical, this should be considered a sufficient ending… No? It’s still going? Another ABBA song? Fine, everyone is singing an ABBA song when… when… oh, I can’t say it. It’s too stupid.
Okay, look, the concrete floor gives way and water starts spurting up into the air. It turns out the hotel was built on Aphrodite’s famous fountain of love, which is so famous, in fact, that I had to look it up on Wikipedia… where it does not appear. My best guess (and, I won’t lie to you, I’ve been drinking) is that they meant it to be a fountain actually known to be located on Cyprus, but whatever. I can’t even find the link.
Everyone is dancing and getting drenched and bathing in the waters of love. Judging from the behavior of the partygoers, the waters of love may contain a small amount of OxyContin. And ecstasy. And whatever Neo took that shot him out of that pod all bald and naked. Plus vitamin C with rose hips.
End of movie? Hell, no. It’s now early dawn, and Sophie and Sky board a boat off the island. At least, I think that’s what happens. The scene is so poorly lit that I’m really just guessing. I would be more than happy to entertain any logical suggestions.
And the credits roll.
No… they don’t. The hell? The Dynamos come out onto a big lighted stage in full-on ’70s disco glam regalia. They’ve got on platform boots, and wide collars tapering down to deep V-cut blouses with lots of ruffles. Even ABBA never had this much ABBA going on. The group does “Dancing Queen”, and then Donna asks us if we want some more.
It’s funny because nobody answers her. No audience member screams. There doesn’t appear to even be an audience. Donna takes the utter silence as approval and the girls begin “Waterloo”, this time aided, oh lord almighty, by the guys. The three men are now dressed in getups that would have been out of place in Thank God It’s Friday. They dance gamely, the way my father danced at my wedding.
The good news is that they’ve gained an audience. The bad news is that no amount of studying the physical world can explain this audience. They appear to be a cadre of Greek gods. They’re enjoying the music… somewhat. Actually, they don’t look too happy. I’d say they’re mildly appreciative, at best.
And the credits roll.
No. No, they don’t. Amanda Seyfried sings “Thank You for the Music” over the end titles, which happens to be my least favorite song of all time including, but not limited to, the spoken word version of “Can You Read My Mind” by Margot Kidder, “Lazy Pirate Day”, and those drums they play when they lead somebody to the gallows.
And the movie ends with a reminder that all of these songs and more are available for free any time anyone cares to turn on a radio.
What, then, makes the movie bad? Not the following:
It’s hard to fault Christine Baranski, who plays cougar Tanya. She’s the utility infielder of movie comedies. Every casting decision that has ever been made about her has gone like, “What? Our first choice died in a skiing accident? Call up Christine Baranski.”
She can kind of sing, kind of move, and she’s a good sport about everything. But frankly, any Broadway actress would have been better than her. Am I the only person left on earth who remembers Faith Prince? Marilu Henner? Mary Lou Retton? Um… I’m not gay.
By the way, Christine Baranski was just on The Big Bang Theory the other night, and I’m trying to talk that show up. Incidentally, watch The Big Bang Theory.
I’m going to give Colin Firth a pass as newly-gay Harry. He can barely sing, but his character had almost nothing to do. Also, look how excited he was doing press for the movie:
(Lack of) Pride and Prejudice
Anyone that close to suicide needs an intervention, not internet scorn.
Poor little Amanda Seyfried. Her character, Sophie, is a loon. Her behavior at any given point in the movie makes no sense under any system of logic. But she has enough going for her.
Her voice is not unpleasant. It’s thin and lacks character, but it doesn’t exactly offend. She’d make it to Hollywood Week, but would get cut when her group refused to work together and one person went to bed early and another was a gay 17 year old guy who just flipped out and spent the whole night crying and waving his hand in front of his face while an earthy, black woman kept yelling, “Jesus, please give me the strength not to beat these white people down” and then they all got on stage and everybody forgot the words and instead sang, “Hmm hmm hmm, baby, baby, hmm hmm hmm” and then the gay kid had yet another freak-out and left the stage before the judges even said anything.
That’s the kind of singer she is.
Also, she’s blazingly hot in a very not-Natalie Portman kind of way, if you get my meaning.
I’m saying Amanda’s more of a nordic beauty. She doesn’t celebrate Shemini Atzeret too gaudily. She can’t get wholesale prices on diamonds. Jewish. She’s not Jewish. So, Amanda and her shiksappeal make it through this movie and are free to return to the set of Big Love.