A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
The Catherine Johnson stage musical brought to the screen under its stage director, Phyllida Lloyd: a romantic-comic bauble about a scheduled wedding on a Greek island, to which the bride-to-be, unknown to her mother, has invited the three men who are sole candidates to be her biological father. (All three prove to be remarkably uncurious and acquiescent guys.) But that’s a mere pretext for the players at short intervals to warble tunes from the ABBA songbook. Among the things that might be said about the movie are (a) that ABBA, infectious though they can be, are not exactly the Beatles, as witness the latter’s similar use in Across the Universe; (b) that another and better wedding movie, Muriel’s Wedding, had already successfully plundered the ABBA songbook, without asking its cast to do the singing; (c) that this cast for the most part are not singers (Pierce Brosnan in full throat looks as if his head’s about to explode), although no apologies need be made for Meryl Streep, who, besides her lusty belting, supplements her usual emotion-plumbing with some peppy physicality; (d) that the natural settings, clearly, brightly, sunnily photographed, somewhat temper the inherent campiness; and (e) that this tempering, in a work of such fragile artifice, is not necessarily a good thing. To get down to a couple of specifics, the “Super Trouper” number on the eve of the wedding is a definite high point, and despite the shortage of competition for high points, the closing credits are well worth hanging on for, providing two higher points in the form of encores — twin peaks, if you please — with Streep and her bosom buddies (the blissfully confident Christine Baranski and the indomitably plucky Julie Walters) stepping off the Greek island and onto a secluded concert stage, in disco-era Vegas costumes. With Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, and Dominic Cooper. 2008.