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7 Movies like Mamma Mia: Wedding Day Chaos

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Chris Suffield itcherWeddings are supposed to be the happiest day of a couple’s life, but the culmination of months of work that has seen every last detail meticulously planned doesn’t always run smoothly. Luckily, those complications provide romantic comedies an endless set of scenarios to exploit for our amusement. Movies like ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Father of the Bride’ show that no matter how much you plan, you should always expect the unexpected. ~ Chris Suffield

Here I Go Again

With her wedding day fast approaching Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) wants her biological father to walk her down the aisle, the trouble is, she doesn’t know who he is. After a rummage through her mother’s (Meryl Streep) diary, Sophie has narrowed it down to three suitors and proceeds to invite them all to her wedding.

The scenic backdrop of Greece, a game cast and the hits of ABBA makes ‘Mamma Mia’ a difficult movie to resist for all its guilty pleasures.

There’s a reason the hit stage show has lasted so long, and regularly tops must see musical lists, and that reason is ABBA. After years of sellout performances, some bright Hollywood executive thought “hey that might make a good movie.”

A word of caution, once your have heard Pierce Brosnan ‘sing’ (roar is perhaps a more accurate adjective), it can never be unheard. So, here’s a selection of films like ‘Mamma Mia’ to try and help you forget.

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Movies Similar to ‘Mamma Mia’…

‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ (Joel Zwick, 2002)

To get this list of movies like ‘Mamma Mia’ started I’m sticking with the Greek theme for this 2002 romantic comedy.

Written by and starring Nia Vardalos, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ took the box office by storm upon its release. Vardalos plays Toula, a shy 30 something who has become a bit of a lost cause to her family as she has yet to find a husband and settle down. In steps dashing school teacher Ian (John Corbett), who sweeps her off her feet – the only catch is he’s not Greek, and her overbearing family are struggling to get past it.

Corbett and Vardalos reunited in 2009 for ‘I Hate Valentine’s Day’, but it sank without a trace. The whole cast is back in 2016 for the long-awaited ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ directed by Kirk Jones.

Similarity Match: 90%
A culture clash comedy mixed with a wedding countdown delivers a satisfying crowd-pleaser for the whole family.

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‘Bridesmaids’ (Paul Feig, 2011)

Paul Feig’s breakout comedy garnered co-star Melissa McCarthy an Academy Award nomination for her supporting performance as Megan Price. Kristen Wiig (who also co-writes) plays Annie; her delicate world is thrown into chaos when her best friend (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged and asks her to be maid of honour.

The events leading up to the wedding don’t run smoothly, with bridal shower fallouts and a bad case of food poisoning befalling the ladies. Just when you thought the R-Rated comedy had become stale and formulaic, ‘Bridesmaids’ came out of nowhere to show us how to do it right.

Sound good? Make sure to also have a look at these other movies similar to ‘Bridesmaids’.

Similarity Match: 80%
Although aimed at an older audience, ‘Bridesmaids’ makes the perfect antidote to the overly sentimental happiness of ‘Mamma Mia’.

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‘In & Out’ (Frank Oz, 1997)

Kevin Kline stars as Howard, a small town teacher who is mistakenly outed on national television when one of his former students wins an Oscar. To add to his stresses, he is mere days away from tying the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Emily (Joan Cusack).

As the media descends upon the small town, and every detail of Howard’s sheltered existence is put under the microscope, he begins to re-examine his life and to question his sexuality. Kevin Kline and Joan Cusack elevate the occasionally lazy script with boundless energy and turns this middling comedy into a gem. Cusack was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance but lost out to Kim Basinger for her role in ‘L.A. Confidential’.

Similarity Match: 75%
Just like ‘Mamma Mia’ our protagonist is on a journey of self-discovery in the run-up to their wedding, and the repercussions change their lives forever. Whether the wedding goes ahead as planned or not, it’s ok, because everybody learns an important life lesson.

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‘Father of the Bride’ (Charles Shyer, 1991)

There might not be a sun kissed beach in sight, but in order to find movies similar to ‘Mamma Mia’, I need to look beyond the obvious. This remake of ‘Father of the Bride’ encapsulates what many parents endure to give their child a perfect wedding. Steve Martin plays stressed out father George Banks, as he comes to terms with his little girl getting married he becomes at odds with mounting cost and spectacle of the big day.

The focus of most wedding movies is usually the bride and groom, instead the middle-aged parents are the stars and Steve Martin is at his comedic best. Ably supported by Martin Short and Diana Keaton, the formula proved successful enough to merit a baby themed sequel.

Similarity Match: 70%
Steve Martin is on fine form in a comedy of errors that all parents can identify with in some way. If ‘Mamma Mia’ is aimed at mothers and daughters, then ‘Father of the Bride’ is a comedy very much for the dads and the apples of their eyes.

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If You Like ‘Mamma Mia’, You Will Like…

All the films like ‘Mamma Mia’ so far have been set around weddings, however, if it was the songs that appealed to you, here’s some fun musicals to keep you dancing.

‘Hairspray’ (Adam Shankman, 2007)

John Waters’ cheeky musical gets the ‘Glee’ treatment in this remake, with John Travolta as you’ve never seen him before – as a plump homemaker named Edna Turnblad. That’s right, Danny Zuko himself returns to musicals as a woman in grand style.

Stripped of the trademark John Waters garishness, the remake aims for a more wholesome tone to handle the racial segregation backdrop of 1960s America. Plucky teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) wins a sought after spot on The Corny Collins Show, and quickly becoming a sensation after she uses her newfound platform to challenge conventions.

Played squarely for laughs, the subject matter is keenly handled and serves as a “celebration of cultural diversity, body image, and sexual orientation” in all its many beautiful forms. For more on the themes of ‘Hairspray’, check out this fascinating article.

‘Hairspray’ retains the core message of the original and provides a toe tapping-knee slapping soundtrack that’s guaranteed to get you moving. Christopher Walken’s mad dancing skills makes it practically unmissable.

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‘Rock of Ages’ (Adam Shannkman, 2012)

Another hit stage show makes the leap to the big screen with an all-star cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and Tom Cruise as rocker Stacie Jaxx. Taking the songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and many more, ‘Rock of Ages’ is the ultimate jukebox singalong.

The plot might be wafer thin, but just like the stage show that spawned it the movie just wants to have a good time, even if it’s tonally all over the place. Tom Cruise has the most fun with his limited screen time and remains the highlight of the movie.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the ‘Mission Impossible’ star singing ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ in perhaps the most bizarre on screen duet, then look no further. ‘Hairspray’ director Adam Shankman does his best with the material yet couldn’t save it from being a complete box office flop.

‘Rock of Ages’ isn’t perfect, but it’s not aiming to be anything more than a bright, breezy distraction filled with classic rock. If you enjoyed ‘Mamma Mia’, then take a chance on this.

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‘Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’ (Joss Whedon, 2008)

Joss Whedon’s passion project wasn’t a movie or a TV show, but through sheer talent alone it has willed it way onto this list. Neil Patrick Harris plays the titular lovesick evil genius with aspirations to join the Evil League Of Evil. To prove his villainy, he will demonstrate his power by taking down the resident superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).

Unfortunately for Doctor Horrible, he’s gone and fallen in love with laundry chum Penny (Felicia Day) but Captain Hammer also has his wandering eye on her, much to Doctor Horrible’s dismay. Released online, Joss Whedon was ahead of the web series revolution and made the whole show available for free.

A fun foreshadowing for Whedon’s ‘Avengers’, ‘Doctor Horrible’ is a beautifully geeky musical made for the post-modern generation.

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The Winner Takes It All

Musicals can be hit and miss at the box office as audiences appetite for the genre is fickle at best. When it’s done right, we get films like ‘Grease’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and a daring adaptation of ‘Les Miserables’. When things don’t quite go as planned, we get disasters like ‘Nine’ or ‘Grease 2’ a sequel that nearly ended Michelle Pfeiffer’s career before it started. Say what you like about ‘Grease 2’, Pfeiffer’s Cool Rider song is as ridiculous as it is catchy.

That concludes my movies like ‘Mamma Mia’ list and I got through it without a single mention of ‘High School Musical’, almost. If the sun-drenched scenery of ‘Mamma Mia’ has you wanting to escape to a tropical island, check our these ‘Movies Like Couple’s Retreat’ to bask in.

If there are any other films like ‘Mamma Mia’ you’d like to include, let us know in the comments section below.

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