My wife and I went to see this last week not sure what to expect and we came away really impressed. Objectively, it's a very well crafted film. The songs are used to great effect throughout in reflecting events and building the emotion of the storyline. The particular sequence just before the wedding is an unexpected series of emotional body-blows: I defy anyone with grown-up kids to resist empathising with the feelings being portrayed on screen. It certainly caught me out - middle-aged guy speaking - and my wife (along with numerous others) shed a tear. Streep in particular is wonderfully adept at bringing the lyrics to life. I found myself thinking anew about the meaning of lines from songs I've heard and sung along to many, many times before.
Looked at coldly, without knowing details of their musical 'credentials', the cast list is an unusual combination, but there's no doubt that this particular recipe works terrifically well on screen. To those who criticise Brosnan's singing - I think you've missed the point. This is not just a standard 'musical'. The guys, it seems to me, were chosen mainly for what they could bring to the roles as actors, not as lead singers. At no point before seeing the film was I expecting to be blown away by the guys singing, and at no point during the film did I feel disappointed by it either. Their singing is a delightful facet of their broader characters and far from detracting from the value of the film as a musical, actually makes it so much more enjoyable.
To sum up, I went to see it in ambivalent state of mind, fully prepared to come away with a so-so opinion of it. I have to admit Mamma Mia won me over, and as a result, for the first time in 30 years, we've been to see a film twice. It's an optimistic, life-affirming movie. The cynics can pull it to bits if they please, but the sheer, uncomplicated happiness it gives to the vast majority who've see it - including us - speaks volumes.