Recently, I've watched Mamma Mia in the cinema, twice. Both times for my darling's birthday actually. Now, I'm not really much of an ABBA fan so to speak but I respect their talent and I don't mind listening to ABBA now and then. Now and then. Two hours of continuous ABBA songs however...
But I digress. Mamma Mia is good. Yes, it really is, notwithstanding of my relatively low tolerance for the show's music (which is admittedly far better than say, Sweeney Todd's music, but Sweeney Todd's music is forgetable anyway). It is an expertly crafted musical with excellent acting talent (two words: Meryl Streep) which very very successfully incorporates almost all of ABBA's best hits into a coherent plot that actually flows quite well.
I could sum up Mamma Mia in one word; Indulgent.
Yes, it's the most indulgent movie I have ever watched. Nevermind Speed Racer, Iron Man, Street Fighter, X-Men or whatever movie whose popularity hangs on an established fanbase. Mamma Mia is by far the most indulgent movie to fans of music and knows it; it specifically targets middle aged women (mostly) who came from the ABBA generation. The star of the show isn't the girl getting married who doesn't know who her real father is, it's the girl's mum. An unusual choice from a regular sript writing perspective, to be sure.
Further, there are just too many scenes where music normally would not be played in your average musical but ABBA tunes are slotted in to make sure the fans hear as many of their favourite songs they can in a space of two hours. Shane commented that the song "Slipping through my fingers" during the scene where Sophie is dressing for her wedding shouldn't be there because it was a rubbish song that wasn't a hit; but IMO it was the most well placed song in the entire show IMO as compared to a lot of the other songs. Don't forget the demographic of the movie audience; middle aged women from the ABBA generation who likely have their own children. What other song can capture the feeling of a mother helping her daughter dress for a wedding, about to leave her alone to the island herself?
Anyway, as I said. Utterly, utterly indulgent.