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Here We Go Again: Mamma Mia! 2 is a glossy dud, says Rashid Irani

Young Sophie is now married, pregnant, and still trying to connect the dots about her paternity. But the sequel to the 2008 Abba-inspired hit is not as charming.

Updated: Aug 03, 2018 14:33:37

By Rashid Irani

Some of the songs feel clumsily staged. Others, admittedly, are a moving delight.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
Direction: Ol(iver) ParkerActors: Lily James, Amanda SeyfriedRating: 2.5 / 5

Pretty much everyone seemed to enjoy the all-singing, all-dancing Abba-inspired hit Mamma Mia! in 2008. The follow-up is by and large a glossy dud.

The setting is the same hotel on a sun-drenched Greek island. The charismatic mom and owner Donna, played by Meryl Streep, has died. Her young daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the bride-to-be in part one, has taken over. She’s pregnant, the hotel’s been refurbished, but she’s still struggling to connect the dots with respect to her paternity. So she invites to the reopening of the hotel the three men (Pierce Brosnan-Colin Firth-Stellan Skarsgard) her mother dated back in 1979.

Thankfully, we still have Donna played in flashbacks by Meryl Streep, and as a young woman by the luminous Lily James. The climactic reunion features a raft of pop favourites, including ‘Fernando’ and ‘Super Trouper’, both sung gorgeously by Cher.

Incoming British writer-director Ol Parker has failed to recreate the infectious charm of Phyllida Lloyd’s original. The plot see-saws between past and present, which becomes tiresome after a while. The staging of tunes such as ‘When I kissed the teacher’ and ‘Waterloo’ in the first half feels clumsy.

Thankfully, we still have Donna played in flashbacks by Streep, and as a young woman by the luminous Lily James. And the climactic reunion features a raft of pop favourites, from ‘Fernando’ to ‘Super Trouper’, both of these rendered by the ever-effervescent Cher.



In a moving moment and a clever conceit, Streep appears in a cameo to belt out the heartbreaking duet ‘My love, my life’ with Seyfried. Lily James’s warbling of ‘Andante, andante’ is a showstopper. Christine Baranski and Julie Walters are the ensemble highlights, as Donna’s lifelong friends.

The film’s confused and ditzy overall. But the formula will likely be irresistible to many. 

First Published: Aug 03, 2018 14:33:37

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