TK thought it would be a punishment. A title doled out to make a film critic cry out to the skies in agony. He tented his fingers and plotted who would be dealt this crushing blow to their summer calendar. And then I spoiled things. When it came time to talk movie reviews for July, I jumped at the chance to weigh in on Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. I enjoyed the first film. I love ABBA. And every part of the movie’s marketing has been proudly proclaiming it gives no fucks what cynics and critics might say. It scoffs at logic. It flaunts its pretty stars in overalls and disco glam. It relishes in camp. I can’t get enough.
After the first trailer came a lyric video for the lesser known and controversially saucy ABBA jam “When I Kissed The Teacher”.
What’s happening here? Let’s assume young Donna (Lily James) decided to turn her valedictorian speech into the chance to scandalize her school while promoting her girl group. To make it a bit more subversive, they genderswapped the teacher from the original lyrics and cast the lovely
Celia Imrie to play the surprised but not displeased object of young Donna’s affections. Bonus: we see that the casting of Christine Baranski’s young version is dead-on. Bravura Jessica Keenan Wynn. Not only are you the spitting image, but you scream Tanya from the first smirk of those beautiful, big, lacquered lips!
Next came a glimpse at young Harry. Hugh Skinner, beloved by me for playing the whimpering doormat of a boyfriend on Fleabag and the absolutely hilariously befuddled Wills on The Windsors, has a Colin Firth-ish poshness, but brings his own goofy enthusiasm to “Waterloo.” But this isn’t any old music video. You can join in the fun by spinning 360 degrees to see every corner of this whirling restaurant number.
And finally, they need nothing flashy, fancy, or even visual to tease the sequel’s biggest star. Cher. She plays Meryl Streep’s mom (Yes, IRL they are three years apart, shut up with your logic. Cher is ageless and can do anything she wants. You will sit there and be grateful!) Cher sings “Fernando” with Andy Garcia. Take a listen. Let it stroke your soul.
Some of you might scoff at my unbridled enthusiasm for a movie this unapologetically corny. But I can’t hear you. I’m listening to ABBA.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again will hit theaters July 20, 2018.