Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a shining disco ball in the darkness of 2018

This ridiculous and delightful sequel/prequel to the ABBA musical has Cher, disco and too many daddies.

Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper and Cher in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

It’s hard to remember what happened 10 years ago. Mansplaining was born, Charlton Heston died and we witnessed the greatest “jukebox musical” of our generation. In 2008, Meryl Streep finally showed us she’s more than just a joke at the Oscars by singing and dancing her way through Mamma Mia, a film based on a play about a young woman who uses ABBA songs to score as many daddies as possible. Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong? Since then, the world has gone bananas and all the good celebs have died. All except one…CHER.

Like a shining disco ball in the darkness of 2018, I present to you Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, a sort of sequel/prequel, directed by Ol Parker and supposedly inspired by The Godfather II, because Cher is like a cheeky Don Corleone and ABBA makes us an offer we can’t refuse…with their music. Gimme, gimme, gimme, a man after midnight!

Or maybe, because it travels between scenes of present-day Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) opening a hotel in Greece to honour her late mother Donna (Meryl Streep) and the origin story of how young Donna (Lily James) met Sophie’s three daddies: Sam (Pierce Brosnan and Jeremy Irvine as young Sam), Harry (Colin Firth and Hugh Skinner as young Harry) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård and Josh Dylan as young Bill). Why so many daddies, girl?

The gist of it is that young Donna disco-dances her way out of Oxford to disco-dance her way into the pants of three strapping lads on a Greek island, because nothing beckons lovemaking like hot ABBA jams and tzatziki. Super Trouper, beams are gonna blind me.

What about Cher, you ask? Well, her arrival is teased throughout, as if the film is whisper-chanting “Cher, Cher, Cher” until we spot a helicopter and a bejewelled shoe and the whisper becomes a rousing chorus. The audience literally clapped at the sight of her, and that might have been about an hour in. Who’s keeping track when you’re bouncing along to “Waterloo” and gawking at pretty people?

Cher plays Athena, goddess of war, sent to this island to strike down lacklustre performances and eat all the young men while singing “I Have A Dream.” Or maybe she just plays Sophie’s grandmother and is here to make out with a bearded Andy Garcia who happens to be named…Fernando. I’m not telling!

This is a ridiculous and delightful fun-bad movie that I dare you not to enjoy, unless you hate ABBA and would rather continue sad-watching The Handmaid’s Tale. The plot is flimsy at best, the dance numbers provoked a strange sort of squeal-giggling from me and there’s an abundance of goofy gags, especially involving the dads who gleefully don’t seem to give a fuck. At one point, Skarsgård is inexplicably wearing a fat suit and much later, he’s doing the Titanic pose with Firth on a boat, while throngs of people gyrate to “Dancing Queen” around them. “Fuck it, I’ve wanked off in a Lars Von Trier movie, this is my life now.”

We should all live our lives like the epic finale of this film, wearing stupid things and dancing like only Cher is watching. After all, in 10 more years, we might all already be dead, while our immortal alien queen survives tweeting more toilet emojis to the world and prepping for Mamma Mia 3: S.O.S., a dystopian, futuristic thriller in which the daddies finally go to war and groove to the ABBA B-sides we all really underestimated. ■

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again opens in theatres on Friday, July 20. Watch the trailer here: