WTF: ‘Mamma Mia!’ Is Not a Sing-Along!

Shu t up when you see Mamma Mia!

I know that avid readers of this column are going to do have their own WTF moment when they realize I’m not saying anything about The Dark Knight. But there’s more out there this week than the Batman hype.

Originally, I had planned a nice column about how Madonna’s brother claimed she’s not having an affair because she’s just “a Catholic girl.” But something else happened this week to set me off beyond Madonna’s extramarital indiscretions.

During the advanced screening of Universal’s new film Mamma Mia!, I was sitting with some friends, and a local deejay introduced the film then began passing out booklets of the lyrics to the songs in the film. He ran around the theater, encouraging everyone to sing along with the movie.

And I had to say… what the fuck?

Fortunately, the audience didn’t know their ABBA that well, and the theater was too dark for people to read the lyrics. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than matronly ladies trying to hack through a feature film sing-along.

The next day, I dropped a line to the publicist and mentioned what had happened. After all, over the past year, we’ve had to deal with crying babies in I Am Legend and MST-3K commentary during The Brave One. I have just gotten sick of noisy audiences.

The response I got from the publicist stunned me. She apologized for the inconvenience, but said, “We have been encouraging people nationwide to sing a long. After all it is a musical.”

What the double fuck???

I understand that the movie is lighthearted, and the studio wants it to be a fun experience. But since when is a movie musical a sing-along event. This isn’t The Wiggles. It’s a major motion picture!

A few years back, I saw the Mamma Mia! stage production with my wife, and I don’t recall anyone singing along. And the last several musicals I’ve seen in the movie theaters (Hairspray and Chicago, for example), people would have been kicked out if they stood up and started singing.

So if and when you see Mamma Mia! in the theater and some blue-haired old biddy is belting out ABBA tunes right behind you, realize that this is exactly what Universal wants.

Oh, the humanity!

Please people… unless you’re at The Rocky Horror Picture Show, seeing a movie is not about audience participation. I don’t care what Universal says, you shouldn’t sing your ABBA tunes during Mamma Mia!

With that said, please don’t practice your martial arts when you see Kung Fu Panda. Don’t shoot people in the head when you see Wanted. Don’t get high while watching The Wackness. Don’t blow shit up when you see The Dark Knight.

And please, when you see Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen next year, leave your ass-kicking robot at home. Even Michael Bay would agree, this behavior is definitely not awesome.

What movie this year would be most appropriate for audience participation, and why?

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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