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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The feel-good cinema event returns!

Who doesn’t love Abba? Only a percentage of silly boys, and they don’t count.

For everyone else, the golden oldie Europop quartet, with their up-tempo dance tunes and heart-stricken ballads, are melodic tiramisu, sugar-sweet and irresistible. It’s not entirely hard to see why. The sequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” offers another serving to the 2008 Abba greatest hits collection “Mamma Mia!” but with sprinkles on top. It is an almost all-singing, all-dancing event that is, by any objective standard, an endearing, effervescent slice of amiable nonsense.

The film returns fan favorites from the original cast while adding fresh faces and new romantic mishaps. The tale is told on a tranquil Greek island where almost no one speaks Greek. Set five years after the first movie, it tells side-to-side the stories of the dear departed Donna, who was an adventurous single mother and owner of a small hotel on the Aegean Sea, and her daughter Sophie, who inherited mama’s zest for life, amorous independence and excellent singing voice.

The film follows them through twin timelines with both in their early 20s. Sophie is again played by Amanda Seyfried. Donna is reprised in angelic form by the returning Meryl Streep and represented in her daredevil chiquitita youth by Lilly James. Each is so ravishing that even though they don’t resemble each other, you can’t say they seem unrelated.

The narrative cross-cuts between the parallel stories of mother and daughter with present-day scenes and extended flashbacks, a conceptually daring approach that works like a charm.

As expected in this era of endless follow-up films, this relies on the tested chemistry of what we’ve seen before. To its credit, it never masquerades as high art — “Les Miserables” it isn’t — nor relays any kind of profound mission statement beyond the enduring appeal of platform shoes. But it’s all inherently appealing, even when there’s a little bit of schmaltz and corn in the recipe.

“My Love, My Life,” the tender show-closing farewell involving Streep, Seyfried and James, deserves a healthy respect for its combo of musty sentiment and powerful performance. It evokes the warmest feelings of parenthood as well as the ends and beginnings and enduring love. Anyone who can watch it without getting sucked in must have a very strong hold on the armrests.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Courtesy: Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Virtual cinema: 

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Ol Parker
Running Time: 
Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia
Screenplay by: 
Ol Parker

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