Mamma Mia! (2008)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried

Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!

Mamma mia, here I go again. Yup, it's that sinking feeling I got at the beginning of that monstrous musical turkey The Producers – that this was a film pitched at just one level: frenetic.

Single mum Donna (Meryl Streep) is preparing to welcome her daughter Sophie's wedding guests to her ever-so-slightly frayed around the edges Greek island hotel. Cue SCREAMS of hysteria as the bridesmaid arrive, SCREAMS of hysteria as Donna's friends and ex-girl group buddies arrive and REALLY BIG SCREAMS of hysteria as Donna discovers that Sophie has invited not one but three of her mother's old flames, any of whom could be her father.

When the cast are not screaming, however, they're singing Abba songs, albeit, to start of with at least, in a somewhat over-excited and frenzied manner. And the songs, of course, are absolute classics – unless they're being murdered by Pierce Brosnan, that is. Meryl Streep, on the other hand, once she stops screaming, stops the show, with a rendition of 'Winner Takes It All' so passionate and heartfelt it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Julie Walters, Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski - exhausting!

With a supporting cast featuring Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård (as the token Swede), a fabulous Julie Walters and man-devouring Christine Baranski, there's lots to like about this relentlessly upbeat, feelgood film, even if, at times, it does leave you feeling rather weary and old, watching menopausal ladies leaping around like gnats while you just feel like a cup of tea and a nice sit down.

However, under all the fuss and glitz and luscious locations, there's a really rather sweet story struggling to get out. So slip on your stack heels, unravel your ruffles and, er, grit your teeth through the first forty minutes or so and you might just end up saying (or rather, singing) Mamma Mia! Thank you for the music…

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