I watched Mamma Mia yesterday. I'd somehow managed to avoid it up until that point. I can't say that I was greatly looking forward to the ordeal, but my mum received it as a birthday present and the chances of Dad watching it with her were slim to none so I stepped up to the plate!
It's important for you to know that in theory I should be one of Mamma Mia's biggest fans. I'm a musicals freak. Mary Poppins; Moulin Rouge; Evita; Hairspray; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; My Fair Lady; I love them all. I maintain that the world would be a much greyer place if people weren't able to randomly burst into song whenever the feeling takes them.
I also love Abba. Rarely has there been a group or band responsible for so many impossibly catchy hit songs. I'll Abba karaoke it up with the best of them!
So why my dread of Mamma Mia? I can't quite put my finger on it, but its huge popularity amongst middle-aged women made me faintly uneasy and the trailer certainly didn't help matters. Don't ask me how they did it but somehow they made an Abba loving musicals fan shudder at the merest mention of their film. Quite a skill.
But after all that I still sat down and watched it with my dear old mum. And yes, it is awful. Hideous. Terrible. A crime against cinema. And yet...
It's funny. Not necessarily always in the way that it intends to be. But by and large the cast and crew seem to be in on the joke. Pierce Brosnan can't sing to save his life and Colin Firth isn't much better but that just makes the whole endeavour all the more hilarious. It's utterly silly and allows people to be silly whilst they watch it. I'm convinced that's why that multitude of middle-aged women flocked to see it again and again. It's the very definition of escapism.
So kudos to the makers. They have triumphed with a product unworthy to even sit on steps outside the pantheon of great musicals and yet glorious in it's own ridiculous way.