The joy of ABBA’s music surely lives on with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Watching the 1-hour, 54-minute musical romantic comedy directed by Ol Parker in the comfort of our living room, I laughed. I cried. And, oh, yes, I danced, to no surprise to my dear wife Karen and somewhat chagrin to our cherished rescue mutt Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle.
What the heck, I figured. If you’ve got these songs by the delightful band ABBA in fabric for decades like I do, why just sit there?
Besides, this sequel directed and written by Ol Parker has some meat on its plot, too.
It guess I’d call it one beautiful hot mess.
For one thing, it time travels between 1979, when Young Donna is graduating from Oxford with her carefree best friends that become her singing trio. She travels to the island and meets the young men that would become Sophie’s three fathers in the original film.
Then we discover Sophie now, ready to reopen the glorious hotel in honor of her mom, who’s recently passed. One dad is there to help her. The other two say they can’t make the big bash.
Back and forth between decades we jump.
Confusing, some. Glorious, you betcha, as they piece in some big hits and many of ABBA’s smaller songs that fit the story so well.
The actors have fun with it.
Lily James is a powerhouse as Young Donna, and Amanda Seyfied shines as concerned Sophie. The returning dads do their best, with Pierce Brosnam, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard working hard to match up with the young talent playing them as young men: Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine and Hugh Skinner.
Cher is Cher and Meryl Streep’s cameo made my reach for my hankie to dab my cheeks.
The first film using ABBA music was thin because, well, it was all made up. This one stands taller because it had that one to build upon. Oh, what a world we live in. Ten years went by between the two. What will ABBA fans find come 2028?
Central New Yorkers can see ‘Mama Mia! Here We Go Again’ free at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Liverpool Public Library.