Mamma Mia ... no

Phoebe and I just finished doing the dishes and rocking out to ABBA.

I'd been wanting to do that -- the ABBA part -- since about 10:30 last night, when Kates and I finished watching "Mamma Mia!"

It's a breezy, film about a girl, Sophie, who uncovers her mother's diary and learns of three men who could be her father. Without her mother knowing, Sophie invites all three to her upcoming wedding in an attempt to learn the truth. Eventually Sophie's mother spots the three men settling into her paradise island complex. And hijinks ensue. Yada, yada, yada.

With such a wonderful cast -- Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski -- it's no wonder the film was such a box office draw and, especially within my family circle this past Christmas, continues to be a popular DVD. It has some marvelous cinematography, too.

And yet, I found oh so little to like about the film.

I thought the film was terribly corny and it trashed most of the ABBA songs it featured. Kates called the film "the biggest piece of cheese ever."

The whole “Dancing Queen” number, with the island’s people following Meryl Streep's Donna character in droves and joining her in a song and dance on the pier, for no apparent reason, was a complete farce. “Lay All Your Love On Me” fell into a similar framework, but with men in scuba flippers dancing on the pier. ... Colin Firth's acoustic turn on "Our Last Summer" was a breath of fresh air, until Pierce Brosnan joined in and ruined the rest of the song; he made us cringe every time he sang.

The story line stumbled and was too predictable.

And it further proves my point that the songbooks of popular bands should not be made into musicals. With the exception of "Movin’ Out" -- which wasn’t so much a musical as it was a ballet musical -- they come off like a hodgepodge of music thrown together to create a renewed interest in the songs they're based on. The plots feel forced. See: "Across the Universe."

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