in partnership
(Image: Universal)

Rondeau's Reviews: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'

Hitting the theaters this weekend, the sequel to one of the top grossing movie musicals of all time hits theaters.

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" stars Oscar winners Meryl Street and Cher. But will all that star power be music to your ears?

The movie achieves something rare in Hollywood: a sequel that's actually better than the original. Unfortunately, that's not saying a lot.

But before we get to that, let me walk you through it.

The film jumps back and forth from flashbacks with young Donna, to present day - driven by the infectious ear candy of ABBA.

Which brings me to my first beef with "Mamma Mia" - the songs in a musical should propel the plot, but more often than not the painfully contrived song and dane numbers in "Here We Go Again" just slow it down.

Then there's the script. The weight of the film rests squarely on the shoulder of Lil James, an actress whose been very good in other roles. But here her character isn't given any emotional depth or pathos, so the young Donna just comes across as a flighty girl who jumps from romance to romance with all the care of a toddler spraying aerosol cheese on a Ritz cracker.

Then there's the singing. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" runs into the same catch 22 as the original - do you cast the great actor who can't sing, or the great singer who can't act?

But just when you think all is lost - then there's Cher! The 72-year-old shows up, steals every scene she's in, and injects this film with what it so desperately needs: energy, charisma and enough high wattage star power to make you forget the creaky plot.

If the writers could turn back time, I am sure they'd write her a beefier part. As it is, I give "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" a disappointing two and a half disco balls.