I know. It was a spur of the moment, "what's playing next?" decision. All I can say is, thank God for Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. At least the pair of them could carry a tune. I think it was very gutsy of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth et al to give it a go, knowing full well that they could barely carry a tune, and to be fair, in the context of the film, it works, but it doesn't help when it comes to the music. Part of the charm of Abba's music (and I think, from a pop perspective, there is a lot of charm), part of the magic really, was the production value, multi-layered, highly compressed, over-produced pop music--that gets lost in this cinematic telling of the theatre show. I have little time for Abba's 'big' songs--the title song and Dancing Queen etc. but I must confess that some of their more down-tempo songs I find quite listenable and enjoyable.
The best thing about this film for me is the location, a Greek island, fully decked out Hollywood big budget style--it's Greece with a stylist. Seyfried does an admirable job as a girl on the eve of marriage who wants to know who her father is, and Streep does her best impersonation of an aging hippy, putting her whole self into the role, adding just enough gravitas to make it all seem more real--everyone else is perfectly functional, but spent way too much time in over-acting school. The film makers could have taken a page from Julie Taymor's All You Need Is Love, the theatre-to-screen transition of Mamma Mia didn't fully translate for me--So there you have it, luckily, I wasn't driving around with Abba songs in my head today!