I went to the movies with my friends this weekend. I got to the theater late, so I didn’t even get to vote on the movie. We saw Mamma Mia 2.
Now I wasn’t a big fan of the first Mamma Mia. Don’t get me wrong, I like some ABBA songs, I like musicals, I like farce comedy. I just didn’t like Mamma Mia.
Mamma Mia is about a young woman named Sophie. She’s getting married and she wants her father to walk her down the aisle. The problem is Sophie’s mom, Donna, was something of a slut back in the day. Sophie has three possible father. Sophie decides to invite all of them to her wedding, thinking she will know her father when she sees him. Possessing basic math skills all three assume Sophie is their daughter and show up. Donna rekindles her romance with one of them and all three are just happy to be 1/3 dad to Sophie.
Between all the dad joke, we’ve got ABBA songs crammed into random scenes. I get that it’s a farce, but Donna is a horrible person for not figuring out some solution to her daughter’s paternity. At the very least she owed all three a letter explaining that she was pregnant and they might be the father. You made your daughter grow up without a father, and you didn’t allow Sophie’s real father to not know his daughter for years! Unless you think one of them would put your child in danger, there’s really no reason not to sort this out when Sophie was a baby. You are discussing Donna, go and die!.. wait you did.
Mamma Mia 2 picks up a year after Donna’s death because Meryl Streep didn’t want to be in this movie. Sophie has remodeled and is reopening her mom’s hotel. Sophie step-dad and 1/3 dad, Sam, is still on the island helping her out. Sophie’s husband, Skye is in New York on a hospitality internship thingy. A storm grounds all the flights that were supposed to bring the guests so Sophie is sad, and Sam is sad, and yes, someone let Pierce Brosnan sing again!
This is all interwoven with flashbacks to young Donna deciding to see the world. She goes to Paris because we have to shoehorn in “Waterloo.” and then she goes to the Greek islands. She finds an abandoned house / the future hotel, falls in love with it and decides to stay there.
Hands down the best part of the movie was young Donna and her friends signing “Mamma Mia.” They’re all decent singers, and dancers, singing a catchy song. If you ignore the plot, it’s just lighthearted and fun.
Meanwhile, the other two dads and Skye are stuck on the mainland unable to get to the island when a minor character from the flashback shows up and reveals that he is now a fisherman with a boat. Together they recruit the local fishermen to ferry people over to the island so that Sophie can still throw the big opening night party as planned.
Sophie is happy, and tells Skye she’s pregnant. This is intercut with Donna giving birth to Sophie. The film really wants to romanticise this, but all I could think was how this perpetuates the stereotype that children don’t need fathers, and men only get to be involved in their children’s lives if it’s convenient for the mother. Do I really need to go on about why this bothers me?
The only celebrity who does get to the island is Sophie’s grandma, played by Cher. Damn it movie! You got Cher in your musical, and I was all set to blindly hate you! Cher can’t move her face anymore and has a weird perma-smile from all the facelifts, but she can still sing, and she puts the rest of the cast to shame! For some reason, Cher only gets one song, and it’s “Fernando”. I mean, she rocks it because she’s Cher, but “Fernando?”
The movie then jumps ahead to Sophie and Skye taking their kid to be baptized at a chapel. I will admit I got a little misty-eyed here because as Sophie walks in with her baby the ghost of Meryl Streep looks on and sings about how much she loves her daughter in a sweet little song I didn’t recognize.
The movie ends with Cher singing the opening lines of “Super Trooper,” and it’s so epic that it brakes the space-time continuum! Suddenly, everyone is dancing with their younger selves singing along with “Super Trooper” The end.
Please, Please Hollywood, don’t make a Mamma Mia 3. You were scraping the bottom of the ABBA playlist just to shoehorn in songs for this crummy movie! There is NOTHING LEFT! Don’t do it!