Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Ol Parker, 2018) 4/5

Hold on to your hats boys and girls, because, yes, you’ve guessed it, here we go again! Mamma-Mia-2-New-Film-Poster-2018Benny and Bjorn have got the entire team back again to sing all of the greatest Abba anthems once again, this time with one big difference, Meryl Streep is severely lacking (spoilers ahead).

Part sequel and prequel, this second film in the franchise outlines the story of how Donna comes to her idyllic Greek Island and falls for the three handsome men that would turn out to be Sophie’s dads. Unfortunately for Donna (and the rest of the audience), she’s dead. As such, the contemporary storyline is largely missing Streep, however, that doesn’t stop the camp being turned up to 11. Lily James is a fantastic addition to the case as the young Donna and belts out ‘When I kissed a Teacher’, ‘Andante Andante’ and, the classic wedding dancefloor filler, ‘Waterloo’. James proves to be every bit capable of carrying this film and it is this that makes the story so worthwhile and without her, it would have been poorer.

In essence, this film brings everything that we loved about the first film and added just about every feather boa and flared jean you could ever imagine. Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) knows how to make these types of films, and the cast are clearly having a ball. Standouts though include Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and, of course, CHER.  The iconic diva might be in a total of 23 seconds of the story (I might be being dramatic there.) but her presence is all kinds of fabulous and she can still belt out a tune.

The only thing that would have made this experience much better would have been to know exactly what caused Donna’s demise. Without this, we are left hanging slightly, thinking, did she die on a Greek fishing accident?

In sum, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! Is probably the most fun you will have in a cinema this year. A word of caution though, if you are a fan of Streep, she will be in even less of this film than Cher.

The Love Punch

The Love Punch (Joel Hopkins, 2014) 2/5

There is a definite audience for The Love Punch. One where matinee screenings are theThe_Love_Punch_Poster norm and daily duties now consist of pottering around the house and not going into the office. Yes, of course I am referring to the elderly audience and who, recently, have been the target market for a number of highly successful films. These include ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, ‘Quartet’ and ‘A Song for Marion’. As such, Joel Hopkins new film tries to cash in on this market. However, just as its bonkers narrative, the film seems to meander between crazy and downright irritating.

Unlike the other films mentioned, there is very little ‘soul’ with the end product. Following a divorced couple Kate (Emma Thompson) and Richard (Pierce Brosnan), who lose all of their savings through the latter’s shaky business deal, decide to travel to France and thwart the evil French businessman who double-crossed them. By doing so, all matter of slapstick ensues in order to ‘nick’ a priceless diamond. Along for the ride are their friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie).

Setting up this film as an Ocean’s Eleven for OAP’s, Hopkins script is just too daft to be remotely funny. Indeed, it wastes the extremely likeable cast who try their best to bring life to the material, however in the end there is a sense that the actors only signed up for this ‘adventure’ to spend a couple of weeks in sunny south of France.

In sum, Hopkins second feature with Thompson after the sweet ‘Last Chance Harvey’ falls flat. It’s clear that he wanted this to be a British Nancy Meyer’s rom com, although without an engaging enough story it’s all just bland and lifeless. I guess, this one will not reap the money in compared to the other successes for this market.