My love for ABBA....
We went as family with my husband, almost-9-year old, and my Mom (Grannie Annie). I felt a little weird taking an 8-year old into a PG-13 film, but I have to say it was pretty innocuous. If you don't mind explaining the theme of a young woman with three possible fathers, most of the innuendo is either mildly naughty or pitched at a level that will go over a kid's head.
Thoughts about the movie: The plot is just an scaffold for the ABBA songs. Meryl Streep really goes for it. She's not acting with a wink-wink approach even though the overall movie is. Streep goes with the flow with gusto. She has a fine voice (unlike Pierce Brosnan, who nonetheless gets points for trying) but seeing her act out the actual feelings behind an ABBA song is a little like hearing William Shatner sing his dramatic version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. (Oh yes, it's real, I am not making this up.) The words, tone and emotions in an actual ABBA song really never matched up to the extent that Meryl Streep brings out, and it's a little disconcerting.
A. O. Scott's New York Times review of Mamma Mia! was one of the funniest things I read last week. Most of his 13 paragraphs are devoted to convincing oh-so-hip New Yorkers know that it's okay, really to go to an ABBA movie.
What I finally realized by watching Mamma Mia! is that my love for ABBA isn't actually ironic. I just love the music, without thinking or analzying. I don't need a protective layer of kitsch or an excuse to listen to ABBA. I'll just pop ABBA Gold into my CD player and off we go. (Time to confess a fun fact you didn't know about me: Michael and I had Dancing Queen arranged for string quartet played as the recessional music at our wedding. It sounded really nice, actually, and you could hear a ripple of laughter pass over the crowd as it dawned on them what the music really was.)
The other funny thing was that after seeing Mamma Mia!, I was reminded how great the 1995 Australian comedy Muriel's Wedding is. I posted an Amazon.com review saying that Muriel's Wedding is the best ABBA-themed (and wedding-themed!) movie, and then today A. O. Scott posted a video on the very same topic. Muriel's Wedding weaves in the ABBA music thematically rather than just having characters break out into song.
So it's a consensus between Mojo Mom and The New York Times: one way or another, this is the summer to give in to your ABBA-licious impulses.