I watched Mamma Mia! this past weekend, expecting to love it. I’d heard good things about it. The show took Broadway and the country by storm. I have been known, in the privacy of my car, to crank up “Dancing Queen” and car dance.
With a movie musical, I expect the plot to be simple and secondary to the singing and dancing. I expect a happy ending. In terms of cuteness of plot, Mamma Mia! did not disappoint. But I don’t think I’ve seen so much bad singing and dancing in one place in my whole life.
It was painful to watch, like a high school talent show when the fat kid with pimples who is a sweetheart but his mom irons his jeans with a crease – which, even without pimples and extra weight is social suicide – gets up on the stage to play “Lady of Spain” on the accordion. I mean, you may have been friendly toward him before because he is actually a very nice person, but now you find yourself desperately hoping that nobody remembers you sat with him at lunch a couple of weeks ago. Because you have enough to deal with without the stink of accordion music on your person.
That’s how I felt about Mamma Mia! I love movie musicals. But the whole point of the musical is the MUSIC. The plots are supposed to be thin and the viewer is supposed to willingly believe the premise that whenever you’re feeling blue, a rousing tap number will make you feel better. (I actually do believe this, whether I’m watching a movie or not.)
I theorize that on Broadway, and in the road show, the stars were chosen for actual singing and dancing ability. From what I can tell, the producers of Mamma Mia! the movie chose stars with a big box office draw and forgot to check if they could actually sing or dance. Whoops.
I think Colin Firth may have ruined Mr. Darcy for me forever. And as much as I love Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, I’ve got enough to deal with without having to hear them sing.