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Mamma Mia! (DVD)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters.

Rated: PG.

Story: A pretty girl is getting married at her mother's rustic hotel on an isolated Greek island. She invites three of her mum's old boyfriends to the wedding in an effort to find out which one is her dad. This leads to embarrassing misunderstandings, plenty of soul-searching and lots of Abba.

Comments: There's every chance you were forced to watch this by your mum at Christmas. (Serves you right for giving it to her.) In case you managed to escape on this occasion, however, I thought I'd better give you a heads up so that you're prepared for next year.

Most of the movie is quite bearable. There's plenty of sea and sunshine, some great choreography and an excellent performance by Julie Walters. You'll obviously need to enjoy Abba music at least a little but it's not essential to be a huge fan - despite having been a teenager at a time when Abba was hopelessly uncool, I found nearly all the songs familiar and pleasant enough. I even occasionally paused the game I was playing on my DS so I could pay a little more attention to the dancing.

The three dads struggle with singing, though. They just about pull it off but you can tell that Pierce Brosnan in particular is having to try really, really hard.

And then there's the plot...

The scenery and music manage to keep things going for at least the first half of the film but then the story reaches a critical mass of awfulness that's impossible to ignore. At the very moment I realised this, my wife said, "This is where it turns into the kind of film you really hate." Sure enough, a series of half overheard conversations, 'white' lies and miscommunications ensued, reminiscent of especially cringeworthy episodes of Friends. (You know, the ones where Ross is at his most annoying.)

Luckily, I still had my DS handy and managed to phase most of the horror out by whacking orcs over the head with a large axe. Phew...

To top it all, the film presents a very odd view of marriage. Getting married and then travelling the world together constitutes being tied down, apparently, while taking the same trip as an unmarried couple doesn't. Or something... I suppose you shouldn't expect much from a story that's a Swedish version of Frankenstein's monster, constructed entirely of Abba songs...

Conclusion: You really wouldn't want to have to give this your full attention.

Explosions: None.
Cast members who can sing: Most.
Cast members who can barely sing: Three.
Cast members who can't both sing and move at the same time: Colin Firth.
Abba songs spliced together in a desperate attempt to make a coherent story: Lots.

Rating: 2/5.


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