"Wonderful" my co-workers all said. "I loved it! I love love love that musical." "Mama Mia was terrific! I went out and bought the DVD and the soundtrack."
Gary and I watched Mama Mia. We sat on the loveseat in silence for half an hour until Gary announced, "This is crap."
"I love musicals. I like Abba. I hate this. Let's stop watching it."
But we couldn't stop. Except for one brief moment of hope as they were playing "Dancing Queen" on the way to the pier, it was so unendurably hideous we couldn't look away.
Here's how a movie musical should be: Eliza Doolittle is pissed at her boyfriend and starts singing "Show Me." Nellie breaks up with her boyfriend and sings "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair." There's motivation for a character to say something, then when they say it in song it progresses the plot.
On the other hand, we spent much of our time dreading how they were going to integrate "Waterloo" into the plot. We also turned on the sing-along subtitles. So we got to see the lyrics. Lyrics like: "The judges will decide / The likes of me abide / Spectators of the show / Always staying low."
It was awful. Why did you all like it?