You couldn't just have fun, could you, Meryl Streep? You couldn't just say, I chose to do Mamma Mia!, the screen version of the ABBA musical, because it looked like an enjoyable time for me and the audience. No, you had to describe the way that the play cheered people up in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, just so we all know you really did have a serious and meaningful reason when you signed up to sing "Knowing Me, Knowing You."
To my mind, Streep's talent has been done a disservice by her tendency to take only the most serious-minded, usually political roles, while shunning the popular and the truly artistically groundbreaking. As a result, few of her projected signature roles have had legs. Everyone at the time thought Silkwood would last the test of time, but does anyone watch Silkwood now? She's in danger of being remembered only for movies that nobody ever sees.
So given a new lease on relevance in the popular mind with summer counterprogramming fare like The Devil Wears Prada and now Mamma Mia!, she goes and insists that she's doing it for a serious reason. Mamma Mia, indeed.