Cert PG 114mins Stars 4
This unashamedly feel-good sequel to 2008’s musical box office chart buster is another sequinned celebration of sisterly love and the unbreakable bonds of motherhood.
With the original pulling nearly half a billion pounds at the global box office, this sticks rigidly to the successful formula.
So once again the irresistible platinum-plated pop tunes of ABBA set the tone for this flamboyant escapist fantasy, which sees the original cast reunite in a split storyline which flicks between events now and from twenty five years ago.
In the present Amanda Seyfried is organising her Greek island hotel’s grand opening night, and frets about her relationship with Dominic Cooper. Meanwhile a deliciously lusty Christine Baranski and a lovelorn Julie Walters banter for space alongside Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Pierce Brosnan.
Bless the former 007, he still can’t carry a tune in a bucket but that doesn’t stop him from manfully trying.
There’s a conspicuous deficit of Meryl Streep as Seyfried’s vivacious screen mother, Donna. However the younger version of the character is played in the earlier timeline by Lily James, and the former Downton star treats us to a barnstorming turn worthy of Streep herself.
Bristling with defiance, optimism and enthusiasm, we see how Donna meets a trio of buff and eager suitors who become responsible for the confusion surrounding her daughters parentage.
All this turning back time sets up a show-stopping singing turn by the ever fabulous Cher, who unlike much of the cast, has the advantage of being a bona fide vocalist. It’s one of many preposterous and crowd-pleasing scenes, my favourite of which is set at sea and best described as Dunkirk with a disco beat.
This brazen and cheerfully loopy sense of fun mingles with heartfelt multi-generational bonding and the pains of summer loving.
Among the barely choreographed mass dance-alongs and ill advised attempts at singing lurks a finger so firmly on the pulse of its intended audience it was rewarded at the packed-out world premiere with an all singing and dancing ovation.
Mamma Mia 2’s manic determination to give you a good time is relentless. I’m not saying it’s a great movie, but if you’re in the mood for irresistible sun-kissed feel good poptastic silliness then it’s terrifically entertaining.