Funny Girl: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again allows us to bask in the glory of Meryl Streep at her comedic best
Meryl Streep doesn't just have a flare for the dramatics, but she's also quite the comedic actress. Here’s why we need to see Meryl Streep don Donna’s overalls one more time.
As we anxiously await the release of the sequel to 'Mamma Mia!', a movie that exercised Meryl Streep’s comedic acting muscle with gusto, and gifted the world the character of Donna Sheridan in all her overall glory, there is one vital piece missing in the lead up to the movie: the actress in question is nowhere in the vicinity, whether it be in promotional events or the trailer.
'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' picks up ten years after the events of the first one, and word on the street is that Streep's character might be dead.
But here's why we need to see Streep don Donna’s overalls one more time in the sequel. In Hollywood's comedic universe, where characters like Borat and Big Mama dwell and pry out laughs with absurd antics, Streep is a class apart, as she laces her unrivaled acting chops with dry wit to keep us amused.
The actress is mostly known to wield her magic in dramas and her ability to reduce us to tears with a few syllables -- Exhibit 1 is her as Joanna Kramer in 'Kramer Vs Kramer' boarding an elevator to see her son after a long and bitter custody battle and saying, "How do i look?" That was enough to make us bawl our eyes out.
Let’s face it, there have been copious tearful moments while witnessing Streep in her element. As enchanting as her performances are in the roles that carry considerable dramatic import, her deft comedic touch has ignited many a movies and raised the level of even pedestrian comedies.
Though her roles in this genre has been few and far apart -- a crying shame considering the extensive run she’s had as an actress -- she has cemented her presence as a comedic actress in the few she has been a part of.
The first movie that jumps out of the woodworks when thinking of Streep is 'Sophie's Choice.' Though the movie has no footing in the world of comedy, the phrase is frequently used while trying to decide the type of potion to go with our coffee at Starbucks - what will it be? A non-fat or triple something non-fat - How will we ever decide? - Ergo Sophie’s Choice.
But we digress.
Streep’s first stint in the world of comedy was in 'Postcard From The Edge'. The wisecracks in the movie proved that dialogues with sufficient sting can create quite the recipe for comedy. As a Hollywood mother and daughter duo, Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine keep this dark comedy an entertaining fare.
Not many will remember her as Mary Fisher in ‘She Devil’, the romance writer who at best of times channels Jackie Collins with a dash of Danielle Steel thrown into the mix and at her worst embodies a second rate trash dime romance novelist with a penchant for the dramatics. Streep who can flaunt a strong comedic spleen in her acting anatomy, turned this movie into a cult classic along with Roseanne Barr. Despite her seeming reluctance to pursue this genre with full gusto, she certainly has the goods to deliver rib tickling performances.
Let's take ‘Death Becomes Her’, a dark comedy where Streep and Goldie Hawn drink a magic potion in order to evade death and stay forever young. The movie grossed over a hundred million and was a commercial hit. Critics couldn't get enough of the duo. Streep's astounding performance alongside Hawn and Bruce Willis turned this one into a classic we’d like to devour on a lazy summer day or any day of the season
Streep is a gift that keeps on giving in the comedy department. She went on to star in movies like ‘Julie and Julia’, and we would have never heard of coq au vin if it wasn’t for the breathy enthusiasm of the actress as Julia Child.
Then of course we have ‘It’s Complicated,’ where Streep made mid-life crisis look like a piece of cake we’d like to devour every day. We for one, can't wait to get divorced at 40 and run wild and free with our architects (Disclaimer - we are in no way propagating divorce, unless you really need one).
Streep also has the power to make plain rudeness look like just good sense, especially when the opposition aka the rest of the world insist on being as dumb as a rock. 'Devil Wears Prada' showcased a side of Streep that had us bowing down to the queen of ice with respect. Not many can cut a person to shreds with a withering stare. While Streep managed to slip into the character of Miranda Priestly -the magazine editor modeled on Vogue's Anna Wintour - quite seamlessly, and whose cutting statements still send shivers down our spine.
Streep while looking like a terrifying villainess at times, is also quite darkly amusing, the hallmarks of a truly exceptional actress whose ambiguity evokes conflicting emotions in the audience.
Streep not only wins hearts and accolades for her dramatic performance but also takes the prize for her comedic roles. Her performance as a tone deaf singer in 'Florence Foster Jenkins' who can't carry a tune to save her operatic life, had us in splits, but her resilience had us rooting for her misguided singing soul, despite her idiosyncrasies.
She also seems to be a wizard who casts an enchanting spell around her movies. That seems to be the only explanation as to why anyone bought tickets to 'Ricki and Flash', unarguably the worst movie about musicians ever made. While Streep was an absolute pleasure to watch, the movie was an absolute snooze fest that put Ulysses to shame (no offense to James Joyce).
Now as we come full circle and are perched at the edge of the seat, full of expectation to witness Streep cast her spell once again in a sequel to a movie that had us singing, dancing, making merry and keeping up with the synchronized moves of the dynamos, we for one can't wait to see her again as tenuous as those odds might be.
As hope springs eternal and all that - Pierce Brosnan might have alluded to Streep's return in the movie - we’re willing to keep the flame burning until we know for certain Streep hasn't left the Greek island of Kalokairi.
Not to undersell the talented actors who are set to reprise their respective roles in the sequel -- they certainly hold enough clout on their own to carry any movie on their talented shoulders without breaking a sweat -- but Streep has left a significant mark with her delightful presence, which if left unoccupied will leave a void that would be harder to fill even by the most talented cast in the movie.
While we are uncertain about Streep's fate/ presence in the sequel, it most definitely will be a shame if she does not reprise her roles as Donna Sheridan one more time.