Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of Abba should through the years have thought of what they’d do in the event that they have been requested to log off on a second iteration of what can solely be referred to as the Mamma Mia! film franchise – which first appeared in 2008. Maybe they thought that, within the phrases of the track: “If I needed to do the identical once more, I might my pal, as a result of fairly frankly it’s a licence to print cash.”
That first movie made me get away in a mixture of hives and bubonic plague. And to be sincere, this new one does have the unique movie’s plotless melange of feelgoodery, an exotically amorphous jellyfish of a movie which is periodically zapped with the million-volt shock of a zingingly good Abba tune.
However one thing within the sheer relentless silliness and uncompromising ridiculousness of this, mixed with a brand new flavour of self-aware comedy, made me smile despite myself: there are humorous, campy performances from Cher, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and likewise Alexa Davies as Walters’s youthful self, and a few superb strains. Persons are at all times working absurdly round a Greek island waving their arms within the air like they only don’t care and it’s at all times sunny, besides when – gasp! – there’s a storm and plans for the relaunch of a vacationer lodge are briefly and unimportantly derailed. This movie jogged my memory weirdly in its staging of Kenneth Branagh‘s 90s movie model of A lot Ado About Nothing, with its golden southern European hues and beaming solid. There’s the identical weird plot convolutions and holiday-romance departure from actuality.
After the primary movie, I famous that the track Fernando was not included and prompt that subsequent time they need to embrace a hearing-impaired character of that title and somebody desperately apprehensive ought to bang a selected percussion instrument and ask of Fernando a sure impassioned query. The truth is, Cher sings Fernando now, and addresses it to a bearded Andy Garcia who’s the lodge supervisor and whose first title has been withheld from us till this level. This ballad of the Mexican-American conflict has supposedly been up to date to recollections of 1959, with Andy presumably a veteran of postwar Mexican revolt in opposition to the one-party state? Cher has a blonde wig for this quantity and he or she seems to be like Madonna on Xanax singing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. It is extremely – and I believe deliberately – humorous.
The setting is the trendy Greece during which the fisherfolk sit round, as somebody remarks, in joyless subjection to their financial woes. Sophie, performed by Amanda Seyfried, is planning to relaunch her lodge however her relationship with Sky (Dominic Cooper) is in disaster. Her emotional worries give her a brand new perception into how her mum will need to have felt at her age; and that is Donna, performed in cameo by Meryl Streep.
Half the movie shall be taken up in flashback to the lifetime of younger Donna, performed by Lily James. It’s speculated to be the late 70s, and he or she impulsively reveals up on this unnamed Greek island, and equally impulsively shags younger Pierce Brosnan, performed by Jeremy Irvine after which younger Stellan Skarsgard, performed by Josh Dylan – having already in Paris impulsively shagged younger Colin Firth, performed by Hugh Skinner. After which after all she will get pregnant, creating the who-is-the-dad thriller which the unique stage model borrowed from the in any other case completely forgotten 1968 movie Buona Sera Mrs Campbell, starring Gina Lollobrigida.
Within the current day, these chaps’ middleaged selves will after all flip up, though this sequel disappointingly shies away from the suggestion that Colin Firth’s character Harry is homosexual. However the huge new character is after all Donna’s mom Ruby, performed drolly by Cher, who reveals up on the island by helicopter. For some cause.
The surreal larkiness is crucially leavened with some good strains, principally given to Donna’s mate Tanya, in each her current day kind, performed by Christine Baranski, and her youthful self, Jessica Keenan Wynn.
Prior to now, I’ve mentioned the three phases that Abba have gone via within the public thoughts: first being reviled, then being satirically preferred (this being the milieu of the 1994 Toni Collette film Muriel’s Marriage ceremony and maybe additionally Alan Partridge’s 1992 chat present Figuring out Me, Figuring out You) and eventually simply flat-out adored as pop geniuses. The Mamma Mia films are after all sited within the third period, however perhaps they’re truly reclaiming a number of the irony and tongue-in-cheekiness of the second section, repurposing it as zany surreality.
There’s, in any case, not a lot else that they’ll do, provided that the juke-box musical format will stretch typical dramatic credibility to breaking level for only one movie, by no means thoughts two. (Or three? 4?) This entire factor seems to be like a preposterous and mad dream you may need after consuming your body weight in feta. Extra gratifying than I believed. However please. Sufficient now.