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July 14, 2008


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What's with the way they play everything to the back row of the theater? Skarsgard was ok, sort of played it as though the character was some kind of human person or something, and Seyfried occasionally makes the over-emoting kind of charming. But why does everything have to be so broad and loud? They know there's a camera and a microphone just a few inches from their faces, right? Was The Producers movie musical such a huge hit and I just didn't notice?


And I was so excited to see Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan in the same movie. I won't tolerate anything that ruins my crush on Colin, which has been going strong since I was 12 and didn't even understand how sex worked.

Plus, Seyfried reminds me of my fiancé's ex. Tramp.

Glenn Kenny

Josh—yeah, the movie really is as loud as your average superhero blockbuster smash-em-up. Even Frankie and Annette used to modulate!


I haven't seen Mama Mia but the plot seems to reprise some dead-on-arrival Gina Lollabrigida vehicle I saw about a million years ago called "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell." Italy or Corsica or someplace takes the place of wherever Mama Mia is set and Pierce Brosnan is played by Phil Silvers. I can't remember who the other two guys were.

Glenn Kenny

Good call, Nick! The two other guys were Peter Lawford and Telly Savalas. The daughter was Janet Margolin, for heaven's sake. In this one, the heroine is running a kind of scam to keep her daughter well brought-up—each of the three guys is paying a sort of voluntary child support—while in "Mamma Mia" Streep's character wants nothing from the guys, and particularly doesn't want her daughter to meet them.

The gender-reversed version was that horrible Shirley Conran novel/major TV movie event "Lace," which begins with Phoebe Cates confronting Brooke Adams, Bess Armstrong, and Mrs. Bernard-Henri Levy and demanding "Which one of you bitches is my mother?"

My Lovely WIfe and I were just reminiscing about how much we enjoyed Amanda Seyfried as the dumb one in "Mean Girls." What happened?

Herman Scobie

I'm sure Mama Mia is as bad as everyone says, but combine the burgeoning negativity toward it with what was said in print and online about Sex and the City (and The Other Boylen Girl and others), and there seems to be a possible overreaction to bad movies aimed at the ladies. While bad movies aimed at us fellas become guilty pleasures, the venom spewed out at women's movies seems to suggest that we wish they would go away and leave us to our ruggedly masculine playpens.

Glenn Kenny

I wasn't trying to convey complete negativity so much as a kind of giggly horror, Herman, but I get what you're saying. And as ham-fisted as "Mamma Mia" is, you have to admit that it at least, in certain respects, has its heart in the right place. But, yeah—the brickbats aimed at this and "Sex and the City" look pretty funny when placed besides certain ponderous fulminations on the deeper meanings of such fare as "Hancock" and "The Dark Knight."

Lord Henry

Fear not, Glenn, I too have a jones for the delectable Christine Baranski, ever since her stockings-and-suspenders routine in CRACKERS, Louis Malle's execrable, uncredited remake of BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET. Ah, the memories!


This is the greatest...review...ever.


Wait, Glenn, does this mean you didn't like "The Dark Knight"??


Seyfried was also great as the dead girl on season one of Veronica Mars. I think in this case, she pretty much did what was asked of her. I'm sure it won't derail her career.

As for the overreaction, well, I don't think of this as a woman's movie, so much as a hearing-impaired simpleton's movie. For me, it is not so much about gender. I also thought Transformers was too dumb and too loud.

Dan Coyle

Oh, I remember Oliver Reed singing in Tommy. I remember without even being asked.

I remember every time it rains.

Glenn Kenny

Bill-no, not at all! I am seeing it in an hour, so I don't know yet. Just talking about us boys being protective of our toys!


Oh, well, that's okay then. But don't scare me like that!


Nice to know that you're starting to have second thoughts about Across the Universe, which I utterly loved. Oh wait, you're being ironic, aren't you? Oh well, I'll still thank you for pointing me at The Gang's All Here, which is, I dunno, wow. It made me wish that Busby Berkeley had directed North Star, or at least the happy Russian peasant dance.


"I also thought Transformers was too dumb and too loud."

Bay is not handicapped. He's handiCAPABLE!

Stephen Whitty

Much better than the movie. I'd add

17. When did James Bond become a "bear"? Whoever told Brosnan to leave his shirt open in this movie, hated him. Hey, Pierce! Get away from the crafts services table! Leave a little baklava for the rest of us, would you?

18. Whoever did Seyfried's makeup hated her even more. ("Blemishes? I don't see a one, darling!") Whoever convinced Stellan Skarsgard to drop trou -- yeah, out of this whole cast, THAT was the one person I wanted to see naked -- hates humanity.

18. The mystery impregnation happened "20 years ago" -- when, what, Streep was 39? And while she was into platform shoes and heavily produced dancepop, Skarsgard and Brosnan were hippies? And Firth had a Johnny Rotten t-shirt? In what strange, time-shifting black hole does all that happen?

19. Christine Baranski is a good sport. But she also looks oddly like Steven Tyler, and the idea that she would reduce an entire beach of Greek studs (plus Mr. Electric Avenue) to quivering taramasolata -- well.

20. This almost made the pain of that screening go away. Thank you, Glenn.

Gorilla Bob

I have no interest in this crap whatsoever, but I too lust for Ms. Baranski. A sex scene with her and Joan Cusack would make at least one of my dreams come true. As for Streep, I've never much cared for her. Something about her irritates me. I hate to get cranky and say they don't make 'em like they used to, but they don't.

Herman Scobie

In her appearances at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, receiving the lifetime achievement award this year and speaking at a tribute to Walken a few years back, she came across as a totally charming, witty, self-deprecating person, a lovable Jersey girl. Too bad that this quality rarely comes across in her films, aka Sophie's choices.

Allen Belz

Sounds rather like her character in Defending Your Life, the movie where I fell in love with her.

Evan Waters

Honestly, Baranski kept me watching CYBILL. I'm not proud of that, but there you go.

steve simels

You owe me an adult beverage, Glenn. I spewed the one I was drinking across my monitor while I was reading the review...


I'm just musing over Pierce Brosnan having to sing, it just doesn't go together with his former James Bond image but I suppose that's how an actor can keep his career fresh.


It is comparable to the "Beach Party" movies, too, aside from the oldsters having a more prominent role than Don Rickles and Buster Keaton did.

Clearly everyone involved was shooting for stupid fun. Even trying to convince us that it's fun because it's so stupid. Their obvious contempt for the material failed to enhance my enjoyment.

Plus, they needed to come up with their own version of Eric Von Zipper, with his indelible combination of charm and menace. That's really what MAMMA MIA was missing.

Glenn Kenny

The "Beach Party" movies should be the functioning analogue, although, as I either said or thought, even Frankie and Annette could MODULATE their deliveries. Here it's all projecting to the back row 100% of the time.


I obviously enjoyed this much more than you and the lovely wife but I wasn't completely sold either.

"I'll admit it: the "Waterloo" rendition in the end credits almost made the whole thing worth it." <== That's what sold me over.


i think the problem with mamma mia is that it failed to keep the balance between making fun of itself and taking itself way too seriously. when those old greek ladies started to sing in the kitchen, i thought, 'oh, so that's what this is! i might enjoy that'. cut to seyfried's ever-watering eyes. and i was lost. and don't get me started on the acting. the acting!!! torture! (especially seyfried and her entourage, as well as her fiancé - isn't he supposed to be a huge talent or smthg? i didn't see that, nor did i see the alleged extra padding in his speedos). plus, could they have found an actor with a dumber face? his abs, though impressive, in a bizarre way, couldn't make up for that punch-me expression.

oh and btw: why only cast ONE actress with an actual singing voice? and although i quite enjoyed her performance, are there any other roles for baranski than the divorcee with a drinking habit?

streep disappointed me, too. i absolutely adore her. usually. in mamma mia? not so much. she kind of got on my nerves with that overly cheery, juvenile and giggly performance. i want her bitchy, miserable, bitter or neurotic. on screen, that is. i give her the winner takes it all, though. probably because she actually was bitter and miserable for a sec. or 4 mins.

ps: i never want to see firth lust after a young greek adonis again. and i'm gay.

pps: brosnan? i'm so over him.

ppps: i'd be the LAST in line. someone should have been educating julie walters.

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