entertainment

'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' delivers Cher, high-camp, and then some - review

Can the sequel to the hit 2008 musical pull off the same trick twice?

2018-07-20

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a sequel that’s also a prequel, which means the original stars are often sidelined in favour of the actors playing their younger versions.

All the biggest Abba hits were featured in the first film so this time round they’re having to recycle some songs and delve deeper into the discography for others.  

Oh, and even though Cher is all over the posters and has done tons of publicity for it she doesn’t appear until near the end.

Yet despite all of the above, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is just as enjoyable as the blockbusting original and, with Ol Parker (who wrote the two Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies) at the helm rather than Phyllida Lloyd (whose direction first time round was so slapdash many shots weren’t even in focus) it’s more slickly put-together.

The story has a bit more substance too, flashing back to the young Donna (Lily James wide-eyed and charming as a young Meryl) as she leaves school to the tune of 'When I Kissed The Teacher' – a song-and-dance extravaganza that, in true Mamma Mia! fashion, is really daft and impossible to resist.

Donna then heads overseas and beds three blokes in what seems like two days, thus when she falls pregnant she's unsure who the dad is.

It could, as we know from the original, be either Sam, Bill or Harry. Thus we get Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan and Hugh Skinner amusingly mimicking the mannerisms of Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth – all of whom return to the Greek island where Donna set up the B&B for the grand reopening which Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is holding in her mum's honour.

 

Julie Walters and Christine Baranski are back too as Donna's old Dynamos, as is Dominic Cooper as Sophie's hubbie Sky.

The film features some nice homages to its predecessor, like Lily doing a Meryl-style leap into the water and a new version of 'Dancing Queen' that ends at the same pier. We also get Brosnan doing his so-bad-it's-not-good singing, although Hugh Skinner's vocals on 'Waterloo' are even worse – but they seem as much in on the joke as the audience and, like the movie itself, never take themselves too seriously.

Because of all the flashbacks we don't get as much of the oldies as we'd like, though Walters and Baranski's take on 'Angel Eyes' is seat-wettingly funny, as is Baranski's already legendary “Be still my beating vagina” quip.

And when Cher turns up, via helicopter, as the world's most glamorous granny to sing 'Fernando' the camp factor skyrockets into the stratosphere.

Rating: 4/5

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is in cinemas now. Check out our exclusive interview with Dominic Cooper in our new August issue - available to download and in shops now.

Words by Simon Button