by Pa Rock
Mama Mia is a good movie, a very joyous movie with a beautiful cast dancing along the cliffs and seashore of a Greek Island, all the while singing ABBA tunes. What's not to love?
The premise is that a young girl, adeptly played by Amanda Seyfried, is planning her wedding. The poor child was born out of wedlock to a very independent mother (Meryl Streep). When she finds her mother's old journal, she is able to narrow the prospects for her other parent down to three, all of whom she invites to her wedding without telling mama. Several complications and a lot of singing and dancing later, a happy ending is had by all - including the audience!
Now, for the genesis of the movie. The plot was basically lifted from a 1968 Gina Lollobrigida movie (non-musical) entitled Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. In that movie, Lollobrigida plays a crafty Italian beauty who had a baby out of wedlock at the end of World War II. Not knowing for certain who the father was, she skillfully tapped each of her three GI lovers for twenty years of child support. The child support hit the fan, of course, when they all showed up at once to see their daughter.
The music and the glittering dance numbers of Mama Mia were sucked right out of the marrow of 1994's camp classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. In that movie three drag queens (Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, and Hugo Weaving) go traipsing across the Australian outback in a pink tour bus lip- syncing ABBA tunes along the way.
Streep and two female co-horts from her youth (Julie Walters and Christine Baranski) break into song in outlandish costumes and platform heels, looking themselves like three drag queens. The costumes between the two sets of entertainers could have easily been interchanged without detracting from either movie. The most chilling parallel between Mama Mia and Priscilla, however, was that Meryl Streep is a dead ringer for Terence Stamp in drag!
For those with a taste for the happy tunes and lyrics of ABBA, Mama Mia and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, will both hit the mark! They are a lot of fun!