Here I Go Again…

July 29, 2008

Mamma Mia!

OK, I finally caught the movie version of Mamma Mia! 

It reminds me a little of Lorrell’s line from Dreamgirls — “Just because the man throws confetti in my face, it still don’t make it no party.”  Or maybe I’m being a little harsh.  Because the movie does, in the end, bludgeon the viewer into a good time.

And there is a lot of confetti.  First of all, the greatest actress of the last 30 or so years in an “I’m so brilliant watch me slum” performance.  There’s a strategically chosen international cast of stars.  There are the drop-dead gorgeous views of Greece.  There’s the sly humor in the deployment of a (literally) Greek chorus.  And there are the ABBA songs.

Actually, Ron made the point that it’s interesting that songs like Slipping Through My Fingers and Thank You For the Music are not done more often in cabaret.  (Karen Mason’s amazing Sweetest of Nights CD has her killer version of The Winner Takes It All.)

I’ve always thought the book of the stage version was horribly under-rated.  It accomplishes the difficult task of stringing together a disparate body of work with efficiency, tenderness, and wit in remarkably efficient manner. 

To me, watching this movie was like eating a Twinkie while reading the ingredient list.  While being assaulted by the sweetness, you see how much chemical engineering went into making it all possible.  But you still ate the Twinkie — and probably enjoyed it more than you’d like to admit.