MAMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN Review — Cheesy Yet Pleasy

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Mama Mia! Here We Go Again Review — How this film works is Greek to me, but it does

Mama Mia! Here We Go Again ReviewCheesy? Check

Plot free? Check

Banal? Double check

Overdone? Triple check

Curiously intriguing and joyful? Quadruple check!!!!

Mama Mia! Here We Go Again is definitely a film where the the whole is far greater than sum of its parts. Taken individually, most aspects of this movie miss by a mile. The sets and costumes look cheap, and the plot, if you can find it, completely lacks conflict and suspense. In addition, all those production numbers using B-side Abba songs that few of us have ever heard are just a plain snore.

And yet…

This film, directed by Ol Parker known for writing the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies, is a riotous feel good, toe-tapping wonder. You leave the theater uplifted, smiling and wanting to dance. Since there are so few films released these days that ignite that funny, fresh, family spirit, against my better judgement, I feel the need to give Mama Mia! Here We Go Again a high (if qualified) recommendation.

While it’s not quite as buoyant as its predecessor, one of its major strengths is what many others consider its major weakness: Almost no Meryl Streep. The absence of Streep strengthens the film, in that you don’t have to watch one of the world’s greatest actresses screech and giggle and mug and jump on the bed in overalls. Subtle humor, as in Florence Foster Jenkins and Julie and Julia, yes. But zany slapstick? No. Just no.

Steep is on hand for a few fleeting moments, but we’re told at the very beginning that she passed away a year ago, and her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has renovated, shined and polished the Greek island inn in her honor. We catch her merry band as they’re about to throw a huge grand opening party.

Without cringing at Streep’s performance, we’re free to focus on the excellent look alike casting of the young Harry, Bill, Rosy, Sam and Tanya. Lily James is radiant as the young Donna (Streep’s character). And then of course there’s the addition of Cher as Donna’s mother. Her rendition of Fernando with Andy Garcia is worth the price of admission alone.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 54 minutes

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 Mama Mia! Here We Go Again Review — Cheesy Yet Pleasy

By Lisa Johnson Mandell

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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