The Reel Review

C+

The whole gang from 2008’s Mamma Mia!  is back in this ABBA song-infused musical about a free-spirited woman seeking love on a tiny Greek Island. In this sequel, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is re-opening her newly-renovated hotel as a tribute to her mother Donna (Meryl Streep), whom has died the year before. As her mom’s best friends (Christine Baranski, Julie Walters) arrive, the flashbacks rev into high gear, detailing the backstory of how a young Donna (Lily James) met each of the three young men who would turn out to be Sophie’s potential biological father. Writer/director Ol Parker’s efforts to shoehorn the popular ABBA tunes into the story is a valiant yet contrived mess, resulting in an insufferably corny, painfully long, and tediously boring first hour, despite admirably exuberant performances by the charismatic James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey), Baranski and Walters. Fortunately, the film finds its heart, voice, and better singing voices (sorry, Pierce Brosnan) in its final 20 minutes, thanks to appearances by Cher and Streep, whose presence seems to awaken a previously listless Seyfried (maybe the script lulled her to sleep too), FINALLY resulting in a genuinely fun, very entertaining and crowd-pleasingly finale. The credits are a highlight too, showcasing the exceptionally spot-on casting of the characters’ younger selves. That first half though… 😱

Our review of the original 2008 Mamma Mia: https://www.thereelness.com/film/mamma-mia/

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