Peter Mountain, Universal
Christine Baranski, left, Meryl Streep and Julie Walters

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE — *** — Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried; rated PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, brief drugs, slurs, brief partial nudity)

To paraphrase some song lyrics from ABBA, Meryl Streep, you can dance. You can sing pretty well, too.

Pierce Brosnan? Your singing and dancing skills leave a little to be desired. Though it certainly isn't for lack of trying.

These two Hollywood stars are the biggest names in the movie version of the hit Broadway musical "Mamma Mia!" And even though Brosnan's off-key, yell-singing of lyrics is an occasional distraction, it's not enough to ruin the movie.

In fact, it's a pretty enjoyable, big-screen songfest that should appeal to both the show's fans as well as aficionados of the Swedish pop group that supplied its tunes.

Streep stars as Donna Sheridan, who's preparing for the upcoming marriage of her daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried).

So, Donna's welcoming all sorts of visitors to her Greek bed and breakfast, Villa Donna, which is hosting the nuptials. That includes three unexpected arrivals — Sam Carmichael (Brosnan), Harry Bright (Colin Firth) and Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgard).

All three are former beaus of Donna's, and it turns out that Sophie invited — unbeknownst to her mother — so she can figure out which of them is her biological father.

Phyllida Lloyd directed several runs of the stage production, but her inexperience behind the camera shows at times. The movie gets off to a fairly clunky start.

Fortunately, she gets an award-worthy performance from Streep, who really nails the show-stopper, a heartfelt rendition of "The Winner Takes It All" that tests her vocal range and shows off her formidable acting chops.

And she has chemistry with Brosnan, who makes up a bit for his subpar singing with his usual leading man charms.

The supporting cast is quite good as well. Seyfried (from HBO's "Big Love") continues to impress, and she more than holds her own with Streep in the mother-daughter ode "Slipping Through My Fingers."

Also, casting comic actresses Christine Baranski and Julie Walters as Donna's best pals was an inspired move. Both get their moments to shine — Baranski on "Does Your Mother Know" and Walters on a slapstick-filled version of "Take a Chance on Me."

"Mamma Mia! The Movie" is rated PG-13 for suggestive sexual humor and references, scattered profanity, brief drug references, a few derogatory slurs and brief partial male nudity. Running time: 108 minutes.


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