ITV1: Saturday 1 August, 6.30pm
Or Meryl’s Wedding… her big Abba Greek island wedding. About to be married, Amanda Seyfried summons three men to the isle of Kalokairi – her mum Meryl Streep’s holiday flings from the summer of 77. One of them’s her dad: Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgaard) or Harry (Colin Firth). Surprisingly, this sunny Abba-fication of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is far more screechy than The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The first movie of theatre director Phyllida Lloyd, Mamma Mia! is framed with all the flair of a Mediterranean chamber of commerce travelogue, with copious karaoke inserts. Okay, so it’s no Muriel’s Wedding and Meryl acts like she’s on holiday… playing air guitar. But she brings a touching sincerity and pathos to her big numbers, especially The Winner Takes It All. Sing it, sister! In tone and style, it’s the polar opposite of Sex in the City. This is Love on the Beach, put together with all the guileless charm and enthusiasm of the old Cliff Richard musical, Summer Holiday. There’s something endearing about all this unbridled naffness, and it beats Julie Taymor’s pretentious Beatles fiasco Across the Universe all ends up. Significantly, Mamma Mia! was a huge hit, trouncing both Hellboy and The Dark Knight (much to Meryl’s ill-disguised delight) at the box office and toppling Titanic in the all-time dvd bestsellers. Taking its setting and 70s jukebox soundtrack into account, it’s entirely fitting that this should be the biggest smiley-faced musical since Grease. Of course, anyone allergic to Abba had best sit in a darkened corner.