Sequel 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' appears 10 years after original

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

The film cuts back and forth between the present and 1979, when Donna, blandly played as a young woman by Lily James, met her three beaus and went gaga for Greece.

Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures/AP
'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' stars (from l.) Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, and Cher.

Not that I mark it a milestone for the ages, but has it really been a decade since “Mamma Mia!” hit the movie theaters? Beware of sequels that come 10 years after the original. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” directed by Ol Parker, and with an ABBA backbeat, comes across as an all-too-strenuous cash grab for the earlier film’s mega-success. The free-living, free-loving Donna, played by Meryl Streep in the first film, is no longer among the living here, but her daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), is managing her mother’s Greek island inn in preparation for a bevy of guests that may include her three possible fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård, reprising their roles and looking and sounding as uncomfortable as ever), Donna’s two best friends (Christine Baranski and Julie Walters), and a horde of others, including Cher, wearing what appears to be an albino fright wig, as Sophie’s grandmother. Even Streep shows up briefly at the end, appearing way too heartfelt for this curdled cotton candy confection.  

The film cuts back and forth between the present and 1979, when Donna, blandly played as a young woman by Lily James, met her three beaus and went gaga for Greece. Scenery-wise, I can see why she did. I trust that everyone connected with this film had time to work on their tans. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material.)

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