Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two frothy hours ruined by incessant math and logic.

So I rented Mamma Mia! on Netflix. It may not be down with the cool kids to say this, but Benny and Björn knew their way around a good pop tune. I was in the mood for two hours pleasantly frittered away, but the Matty Boy brain, at times A Number 1 Tip-Top but in general not to be trusted, decided that froth was not on the agenda.

First five minutes spoiler alert! Or "don't read the movie poster" alert!

So the movie starts with Amanda Seyfried, who is way beyond adorable, meeting her friends and soon-to-be bridesmaids who have come to the little Greek island where she lives. She's getting married, and she sends three invitations to men who she has never met. She has read her mom's diary, and one of these three guys is her father, but she has no idea which one, and neither does mom.

In the first five minutes, my inner dirty old man hopes Amanda and her two pals, also incredibly adorable, will be the focus of the movie, but I take a look at the cast list.

Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgård.

This is a movie about the older generation. Okay, fair enough.

The problem my poor math-addicted brain had is this. When is this movie supposed to take place?

The girl in question is supposed to be 20. The actress is 23. No problem so far.

The characters played by the impressive cast listed above were supposed to be committing their youthful indiscretions twenty years ago. The problem here: only Colin Firth is under 50 years old, and just barely, and the rest of the older cast is pushing 60.


Okay, actors keep themselves in better shape than the general public. Maybe they can pass themselves off as early forty-somethings. (Not really.)

But one character is referred to as Harry Headbanger. Another talks about being a flower child. Another is supposed to be a punk rocker. The band led by Meryl Streep's character is supposed to be Power Pop, but they look like a Caucasian Labelle.

Hippies, punks, heavy metal and disco. In terms of the timeline, one of these things is not like the others.

And then there's Christine Baranski. The other elder female stars chide her about her boob job, paid for by one of her many husbands. Ms. Baranski, being two years younger than the other actresses her age and staying remarkably trim, is the odd person out in this threesome, but there is no way on God's green earth that she or her character has been en-boobened. Somebody in the script department should have brought this up.

Having talked about what irritated me, let me end with a few kind words. Have you even seen a movie shot in the Greek islands where the locale wasn't incredibly lovely? No, you have not.

The Greek islands. The most photogenic place on earth, even better than Hawaii or Tahiti, in my never humble opinion.

As for Mamma Mia!? Rent it, but turn off your brain first. It's just gonna hurt if the switch is stuck in the on position.


CDP said...

You know, I don't tend to take an analytical, math-based approach to many things (as you probably know), but I had the very same problem with the timeline in Mamma Mia--the flower child/punk rock thing was particularly irksome. Other than that, though, I had a good time at this movie...I went with two friends, and we were among the very few people in the theater (it had been out for well over a month) so we sang along. And I agree on Amanda Seyfried...she is adorable.

dguzman said...

Oooh, these kinds of timeline errors really irk me. I knew there was a reason I wasn't watching this movie!

Oh--one little thing: I think it's actually "eM-boobened," not "eN-boobened." Now say each one of those five times fast. hee hee hee!

namastenancy said...

Only you could watch Mamma Mia and think of math. I loved those frothy songs back in the day and just didn't have any problem turning my brain off - but then, the brain of Nancy is nowhere near as mathematically astute as the brain of Le Matty Boy.

sfmike said...

We saw the musical onstage and wanted to throw up most of the time. There's turning off your brain and then there's lobotomy. In fact, I keep threatening to rent the movie in Blu-Ray and make Tony watch it. Give me "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" or "Muriel's Wedding" for a trashy cinematic ABBA fix any day.

Lisa said...

Proving once again that math can ruin any perfectly good experience. ;-D

Distributorcap said...

again matty makes more sense than the movie


ps - i hated the movie - the play and the tunes are MUCH better

seyfried is adorable, and streep is always good, even when she is bad. but brosnan sings like a moose

Matty Boy said...

Thanks to all who commented, I agree with everything written here. Only D-Cap brings up the Pierce Brosnan problem, and it's true, he butchers the songs he sings. Kevin Kline would have been perfect for that role.