Feb 16, 2014

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

I like the music of ABBA as much as the next child of the 1970s.  Though I like them a little less now that I have discovered that they're not four drag queens, but two "very heterosexual" couples who were shocked to discover that songs like "Dancing Queen" and "Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" resonated with gay people.

But Mamma Mia (2008), the movie based on the musical based on ABBA music, is another story.

The songs are good, and the Greek Island settings are colorful, but the plot!

Expat American Donna runs a failing hotel.  Her daughter Sophie is getting married to web designer Sky (Jordan Dean on Broadway), and in honor of the occasion, she wants to meet her biological father.  Donna was something of a free spirit 20 years ago, so there are three possibilities:

1. Sam, a dashing Irish-American architect.
2. Harry, an English banker.
3. Bill, a Swedish sailor and writer.

Sophie invites all three, without mentioning it to Donna, who is horrified by the idea.

Meanwhile Donna's two friends from her partying days show up:
1. Unlucky in love Julie
2. Multiple divorcee Tanya

And Sophie's friends, and Sky's friends, until it gets really, really crowded in that hotel.  After misunderstandings, exasperating conversations, break-ups, reconciliations, and lots of ruminating over "Should I take a chance?" and "Am I ready to love again?", everyone hooks up.   Donna-Sam, Bill-Julie, Tanya with a teenager she met on the beach, and Harry with the only gay guy on the island.


That's right, there's a gay character, and a very, very minor gay romance.

1. Harry comes out to his roommate Sam, and Sam concludes that he has just now figured it out.
2. There's a dozen people in a circle dance, all boy-girl, except Harry is boy-boy.
3. Harry tells Donna that he is dating someone.
4. The boyfriend, who is unnamed, stares lustfully at Harry while the other couples are smooching it up.

That's all.


The ads proclaimed "Something for everyone," by which they meant "There are gay people," but really, blink and you miss it.  I imagine that most moviegoers left the theater with no idea that Harry got a boyfriend.

But, surprisingly enough, it's more than you get in the theatrical version.  There, Harry doesn't come out until a last scene "reveal," and he doesn't get a boyfriend (he has a partner back home).  So no dancing, no lustful stares, no nothing.

Here we go again: heterosexuals get infinite space, and gays a couple of lines.

Oh, well, at least there's substantial beefcake.