It's a terrible stage musical, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I can't tell you exactly why, because it hits me in that nonverbal part of my brain that could only be made tangible by jumping around and screaming and clapping right up in your face, THIS FAST and THIS HARD and THIS LOUD.
But I loved it from the first time I saw it in Las Vegas three years ago with my good friend CV, and mostly it reminds me of her, and of Vegas, and how much fun we had together that night. Seldom have I entered a theater with lower expectations (both for the musical and the movie), and both times I was surprised.
And my lord it's a terrible movie, but I LOVED IT SO MUCH. It's like Meryl Streep threw up her hands and said screw you, I'm gonna play this the way I want to play it, and I finally had to surrender. There's a place for high art and a smart story and good dialogue and great acting, but a musical strung out on ABBA Hits! will never be it, was never meant to be it, and that is why I love it. The only thing it says is keep your eye on the joy, and goddammit, there's a place for that, too.