This news just in: The Abba-based musical Mamma Mia! (2008) is now Britain’s “fastest selling DVD”, having outsold Titanic on its first day of release by over half a million units! As of November 19, 2008, it has grossed £67,879,439 over here, making it the second highest grossing film ever in the UK (just behind Titanic which grossed £68,532,746). Crikey! I was amazed to see that it was still being shown at our local cinema, even though it came out to buy/rent on DVD this week (we even had the sing-along version here for a couple of weeks)… and that BlockBuster were so confident in its popularity, they were renting it out for the bargain price of £2-50, this week only. Well, how could I resist? I had to know what the big attraction was… but, having sat through the whole damn thing now, I still don’t have the faintest clue. I take some pride in the fact that I am slightly “gayer” than the average straight man, but I now realise that I have my limits. Of course, it doesn’t help that Mamma Mia! began life as a stage farce, and generally speaking I despise farces… but that doesn’t entirely explain the juvenile acting on show, from an otherwise highly talented and respectable cast. Julie Walters is a bona fide “national treasure”, and has earned herself an eternal free pass from derision and scorn… Christine Baranski was comic genius in Cybill, one of my fave sitcoms of all time… and the gorgeous Amanda Seyfried was hilarious in Mean Girls. But even they couldn’t stop me from wanting to throw my DVD player out the window, just to make it stop.
The only good thing I can think of to say about this flick is that the songs were good… but then, we already knew that, didn’t we? And frankly, I’d rather have watched a collection of the original Abba promos (or Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths lip-syncing to same), than have to hear Pierce Brosnan slaughter their songs, like oh-so-many SPECTRE henchmen. Seriously now, if you’re casting a musical rom-com, wouldn’t you prefer a half-decent singer as the romantic lead, when he has to carry so many scenes and songs? Tch! I suppose the total lack of edge and bite can be seen as a “plus” for some sections of the cinema-going public… although, to be fair, they did keep in some genuine Gayness, which may lead to a few awkward questions from younger viewers… but overall, it was rather like having whipped cream sprayed into my eyes, while someone sandpapered my ears… i.e., not fun. Certainly not desperate-to-buy-the-DVD-the-day-its-released fun. Thank goodness I also managed to rent Iron Man as part of the offer, to help ease my suffering and get me back on a more manly track. ‘Splosions! Incidentally, Robert Downey Jr. would have been fabulous in Brosnan’s role, because HE CAN ACTUALLY SING!!!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to write the book for a musical based around the songs of Black Box Recorder… an all-singing, all-dancing tale of blue-blooded twins who kidnap and murder children in a bid to become world-famous pop music producers. How can it fail?