“Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” (Universal)
By Catholic News Service
The exuberant kitsch that was the trademark of the Swedish band Abba lives on in this musical romance built around their songs that serves as both a prequel and a sequel to the 2008 adaptation of the Broadway hit “Mamma Mia.” Unfortunately, the sexual morals on display are as tacky as the score.
The film shuttles between the 1979 adventures of a youthful version (Lily James) of the much-mourned matriarch played by Meryl Streep in the original — and, briefly, here — and the present-day efforts of her daughter (Amanda Seyfried) to open a hotel honoring her memory on the Greek isle she loved. As it does so, we discover why mom could never say for certain which of three men (in the disco era, Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine and Josh Dylan, nowadays, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgard) was her daughter’s dad.
Beyond the bedroom, the ensemble of characters, rounded out by, among others, ma’s best friends and bandmates (once Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies, now Christine Baranski and Julie Walters) behaves very nicely, for the most part. And writer-director Ol Parker includes both a prayer-like opening number and a sequence leading up to an Orthodox baptism. But, although it’s referenced rather than portrayed, the blithe acceptance of casual sex taking place within hours of people meeting each other is obviously not in keeping either with scriptural values or with human dignity.
Benignly viewed promiscuity, a nonmarital bedroom scene, some sexual humor, a single profanity. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.