Fuck HSM -- this is how musicals are supposed to be done!
Mamma Mia! is a mixture of classical Greek-comedy with Bollywood musical. Sophie Sheridan is twenty years old and is soon-to-be-married. The only thing that could make her happier is if her real father were to walk her down the aisle. Her mother, Donna, always told her that he was simply an old flame that didn't work out, and left it out that. However, Sophie discovers Donna's old diary and learns that in the summer she became pregnant, she was seeing three different guys: artistic Irishman, Sam Charmichael; adventurous Swede, Bill Andersson; and British rocker, Harry "Headbanger" Bright. The diary is vague as to who the father is, referring to sex as simple "dot dot dot." Against the advice of her friends, Sophie is able to track down Sam, Bill, and Harry, and sends them each a letter (supposedly from Donna) inviting them to Sophie's wedding. Sophie is confident that she will be able to recognize which one is her father as soon as she sees him.
Sam is now working as an architect living in New York. Bill is a writer, living off his sailboat in the Mediterranean. And "Harry Headbanger" is now a wealthy London banker. Despite living hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, all three men receive their invitations on the same day, and immediately set off for Kalokairi. By an even more astonishing coincidence, they all arrive in Greece on the same day at the exact same time. Sam and Harry miss the barge from the mainland, so Bill offers them arrive. All three are surpised to learn that not only are they all in town for the same wedding, but they all have the same "connection" with Donna. On the aforementioned barge are Rosie and Tonya, Donna's two best friends. It is quickly explained that prior to having Sophie and opening a motel on an obscure Greek island, Donna was the leader of an all-girl pop band in the seventies (that dressed, and performed songs that were, suspiciously similar to ABBA) called "Donna and The Dynamos." Rosie & Tanya were her back-up singers. The men arrive shortly afterwards, and much to Sophie's surprise, none of them look anything like her. Rather than confessing her ruse, Sophie offers to take them to their room before their big reunion with Donna. Their "room" is the attic of an old barn. Now that they are safely out of view and earshot, Sophie cheerfully admits that it was she who sent their invitations, not Donna. She thought it would be a nice surprise for her mother, who is always talking so fondly about them. What a load of BS. Needless to say, none of them are pleased as to this revelation, especially Sam. Donna had told him that she never wanted to see him again, after he admitted that he was already engaged. Sophie is able to persuade them to stay hidden until tomorrow's wedding. Unfortunately, Donna discovers the uninvited guests, who cover for Sophie by saying that their presence is purely coincidental. And she actually believes them. Back in her room, Donna admits to Rosie & Tanya that, while she always believed that Sam was Sophie's real father, she really has no idea.
Later that day, the men have regrouped on Bill's sailboat. Sam and Harry both want to leave, but Bill is able to persuade them to stay, as they all gave their word to Sophie. They spend the afternoon with Sophie, reminiscing about that one magical summer they all spent with Donna. Without revealing the details of her scheme, Sophie confesses to her fiance, Sky, about how she never felt she had a real family. But Dom is able to ease her nerves by reminding her that as long as they have each other, they each will always have a family. That night, Donna & The Dynamos "reunite" to perform at Sophie's bachelorette party. Sam, Bill, and Harry all gate-crash in an attempt to speak with Donna, but are prevented by Rosie & Tanya. While making small talk with Sophie, Bill wonders how Donna was able to afford to set up her own hotel. Sophie explains that Donna inherited the money from her namesake, an elderly woman named Sophia who lived on the mainland that Donna had taken care of in her old age. Bill seems rather surprised by this news, mentioning that he had also had a Great-Aunt Sophia who lived on the mainland, but she left all her money "to family." He suddenly stops dancing and asks Sophie how old she is. "Twenty." Bill starts to put two and two together... and excuses himself to get some fresh air. Out on the the beach, Sophie confronts Bill, who confesses that yes, he is her father. Sophie is overjoyed that she finally knows the truth, and Bill promises to walk her down the aisle like she always dreamed. However, once back inside, Sam and Harry both have an ephiphany, and exclaim to Sophie (seperately) that they've figured out why they were invited, and that yes, they are her real father. This is too much for poor Sophie, who faints in the middle of the dance floor!
It's the big day. Donna, now starting to suspect an alterior motive, sends Rosie & Tanya to spy on the guys to find out why they are really here. Back on the boat, Bill and Harry both attempt to explain to the other that they each experienced a major revelation the previous night, but stop before going into more detail. It is also revealed that Bill hooked up with Rosie, but expresses to Harry (with Rosie now eavesdropping) doubts that he's capable of holding down a steady relationship. At the hotel, Donna attempts to ease Sophie's nerves that it's not too late to call-off the wedding. To say this upsets Sophie would be an understatement to say the least. It is also revealed at this point, that Tanya (drunkenly) hooked up with Pepper, Sky's best man. Sophie confesses to Sky her gambit, and how it has horribly backfired. Sky interprets this to mean that the entire wedding was part of her scheme, and that she really doesn't love him. Sam interupts and attempts to make peace between the two of them.
The wedding is ready to get underway. Donna marvels at how her little girl has grown up. Sam confronts Donna and wants to know who will be giving Sophie away. Donna says she will. Sam counters, saying her father should be the one, which prompts Donna to snappily reply, "Her father is not here!" (Her emphasis). Sam tries to explain that he wanted to be a part of her life, but Donna is not having any of it. The Orthodox priest welcomes everyone, before Donna suddenly interrupts and tells the shocked audience that they must also welcome Sophie's father. Sam, Bill, and Harry each proudly and simultaneously stand up, receiving puzzled expressions from the congregation and each other. Sophie excitedly tells Donna that she knows, and that she read her old diary. Donna is confused, as how could Sophie know, if even she doesn't know who he really is? Suddenly, everything makes sense to Donna, while Sam, Bill, and Harry quietly sit back down. She confesses to Sophie that she never told her the truth, because she would worried that Sophie would be ashamed of her. Sophie exclaims that she doesn't care if her mother slept with hundreds of guys (nervous glance from Donna), she could never be ashamed of her mother. Sam just needs this clarified, and asks that Donna really has no idea who Sophie's father is. Bill points out that while a DNA test could answer all the questions, he'd rather be only a third of a dad, then not one at all. Sophie, Sam, and Harry all agree. Harry also has something to add to this conversation: while Donna was the first woman he loved, she was also the last woman he loved. Cue romantic glance at one of Sky's friends, who blows a kiss back at him. All three join Donna at Sophie's side. The priest is *finally* ready to proceed, when Sophie stops him. She loves Sky, but they don't need a wedding to prove it. "Let's just travel the world together!" And they kiss passionately and run out of the church. Sam stops everyone, and tells Donna, "Why waste a good wedding?" and asks her to marry him right on the spot. Donna shockingly refuses, stating for a fact that she is not a bigamist. Sam tells her what he tried to years ago: even though he was engaged, he was more than willing to leave her for Donna. But when he returned to tell her, he was crushed to learn that she was already off with someone else (Bill & Harry each cast each other an "Oops!" glance). While he was married, he divorced soon after, unable to get Donna out of his heart. So again, he asks her to marry him. Donna is overwhelmed, and says "I do!"
At the reception, all three (or four, Tanya/Pepper is never elaborated upon) marvel at their newfound love. Bill and Rosie even sneak off again! Out of nowhere, a fountain erupts out of the ground! It's as if Aphrodite herself has blessed them! The party rejoices in one final verse of "Mamma Mia!" before returning to the stage in full ABBA costumes for an encore of "Dancing Queen".
As stated earlier, Mamma Mia! is a musical, based on the works of ABBA, starring Meryl Streep. By all the Laws of Nature, and of Nature's God, there is no way a heterosexual man should be able to enjoy this. But it would surprise you to know, that even if you're not suited for theatre, the film version is so over-the-top enjoyable. Don't believe me? Well...
#1 - Amanda Seyfried is fuckin' stacked
For most of the film, she's wearing less that this.
Amanda Seyfried plays Sophie. Her filmography up until this point has been basically "hot glorified extra" in crap like Mean Girls and Alpha Dog. This is her first lead role, and she hopes to get taken seriously as a Broadway actress. Her next film features her getting tongued by some kind of vampiric Megan Fox.
#2 - Out-of-Left-Field Casting
Bill Andersson is played by...
"Bootstrap" Bill Turner aka Stellan Skarsgard (anyone know how to add those Scandinavian symbols?). In the original musical, Bill was an American, and is last name was "Austin." But it was changed to reflect Skarsgard's heritage, and shares his new name with original ABBA member, Benny Andersson.
Sam Carmichael is played by...
(The second best) James Bond!!!
With the exception of Ms. Streep, none of the principal actors had any prior singing experience. But Pierce Brosnan (and to a less extent, Stellan Skarsgard) is so unbelievably godawful, he's almost laughable.
And, as previously stated, Meryl Streep as Donna:
Seriously, would you have ever expected to see the most prolific dramatic actress in film history in a screwball comedy like this? I mean, sure, there was The Devil Wears Prada, but that was more "Frasier-style" humor. Speaking of which...
#3 - Lots and lots of sex jokes
As we have seen before, musical comedies tend to have more sex jokes than the American Pie trilogy. Take for example, when asked by Tanya when was the last time she's "gotten any," Donna replies, "What do you think?" and then mimics using a power drill as a vibrator!!