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Money, money, money… Mamma Mia! is back

Sequel to 2008 hit will doubtless make a fortune and please fans of holiday romance and Abba songs

19 July, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Cher, who plays Donna’s mother Ruby in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Directed by Ol Parker
Certificate PG

SO the world really is split into two distinct camps: those who loved the frivolous, carefree abandon of Phyllida Lloyd’s 2008 movie Mamma Mia!, and those who found it as cringing as doing naked karaoke on an open-top double-decker bus outside your partner’s mother’s house at four in the morning.

I am in camp two: it wasn’t just the unbearable cheese, or crimes committed against some catchy 1970s pop tunes. Underneath, it was the shoddy storyline of who’s the daddy?, followed by a message that marriage is the be-all-and-end-all of relationships and without it love didn’t count.

So it was with a deep sense of trepidation that I approached the sequel – and I am happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. I loved being as annoyed by it as I was the original and confirming my (perhaps unwarranted) prejudice against the whole concept. I just didn’t enjoy watching flavourless rich people moaning about love and singing Abba songs at impromptu moments, and I still don’t.

Donna (Meryl Streep) has been cold in the ground for a year. Her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is turning her mother’s Greek island hotel into a swanky pad for millionaires. It’s the opening night, but will it go well? Will her three dads (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård) show up? What about her useless boyfriend Sky (Dominic Cooper) who is living it up in New York?

Meanwhile, we are given flashbacks to Donna’s early life and how she came to find the island, have carnal knowledge of three hunks, leading to the confusion as to who Sophie’s dad was.

Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and Pierce Brosnan

It has the colour palette of a holiday brochure mixed with a Boden catalogue, requires no acting, and manages to – on the whole – butcher Abba’s finest. Lily James as the young Donna has a lovely voice – the director clearly noted this and has cut others’ warbling to a minimum.

If the first made you cock your head and stare with amusement at what the rest of the species you share this planet with enjoy, welcome back. But it takes all sorts, and this will doubtless make a fortune and please fans of holiday romance and Abba songs. Escapism is, after all, the name of the game.


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