If you're ready for a little bit of cheese, a whole lot of charm, a fun story told by a great cast and set to pop music....head out to "Mama Mia; Here We Go Again". Barb Bretz has your Friday Film Review.
"Mama Mia; Here We Go Again" is a joint British and American venture, filmed in Croatia and at studios in England. It premiered in London on July 16 and in the USA four days later .....a decade after its predecessor's 2008 release.
It is in the unique position of being a PREQUEL and a SEQUEL to the original and performs both functions well.
If you've been living under a rock and aren't familiar with the original story which incorporated music from the Swedish pop group ABBA and first appeared as a stage play in 2004.....here's the story in a nutshell:
Young girl (Sophie), living with single-parent mom (Donna) on Greek Island tries to solve the puzzle of her “mystery father” by inviting three men, (Sam, Harry and Bill)... strangers to her but former intimates of her mother....to attend her wedding. Mom's friends and former band mates (Tanya and Rosie) also attend. Singing, dancing, laughter, tears and romance ensue.
In “part 2”......flashbacks explain how Donna met her two best friends and three potential fathers of her daughter. We get an update on what's currently happening to all the above....and of course....singing, dancing, laughter, tears and romance ensue.
The stellar cast includes returners.... Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard. In flashbacks, fresh-faced...Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies play the trio of women. Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan...the trio of men. The beautiful.....if not so “fresh” faces.... of Cher and Andy Garcia, join the cast in fun roles adding their own potential back story for MAMA MIA 3; WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE. I just made that up, but sounds like a money maker to me!
By the way, talented Jessica Keenan Wynn, playing young Tanya is connected to Park City via parents, Beth and Roger Armstrong who are remarkably proud of Jessica's acting career....the only thing she has ever wanted to do. “She's as kind as she is talented and we are hopeful for her continued success,” shared Beth Armstrong who attended the London premiere.
The film has grossed over 300 million to date.....and I'm talking “dollars” not men dragged into the theatres by women. Seriously, men are not totally allergic to the film. I attended with a retired Army Colonel and he got nostalgic remembering his girls growing up in Europe singing all those Abba songs. Reviews have been positive.... with the possible exception being the under-use of Meryl Streep. The scenes in which she does appear are among my favorites. I can vouch it isn't necessary to be a mother.... for tears to flow freely during those scenes.
The back and forth story-telling does not interrupt the flow and seeing the before and after characters partying together at the end makes it all good.
"Mama Mia; Here We Go Again" is rated PG-13 and runs 1 hr and 54 musical moments. This is Barbara Bretz with your Friday Film Review sponsored by Park City Film Series. See you at the movies!