Mommies Dearest 

Queens a light, flamboyant romp

There are nymphomaniac moms and there are overbearing moms. There are movie star moms and judge moms. As in the Dr. Seuss book on the copious dining possibilities for green eggs and ham, moms of every stripe vamp, worry, fume and guilt trip in Spanish director Manual Gómez Pereira's Almodóvar-lite, Queens.

The term "queens" is one used to refer to highly flamboyant, effeminate gay men. But in this old dame lovefest, it is fifty- and sixty-something women who are the hyperbolic drag queens, outfitted with serious bosoms and major hair, attitudinal fashion, breathless voices, important careers and no lack of sex appeal (Pereira's greatest, most endearing coup) in this silly Spanish comedy whose unabashed celebration of fierce mamacitas recalls François Ozon's similar hag-iography, 8 Women.

The five titular mommies assemble in cosmopolitan Madrid with its hip gym spinning classes and chic gay hotels to witness their gay sons' mass marriage in a publicity stunt wedding. There is movie star mother Reyes (Marisa Paredes), judge Helena (Mercedes Sampietro), the bosomy mom Ofelia (Betiana Blum) with two heaving breasts ready to suffocate, the hotelier mom Magda (Carmen Maura) and the sex-addict mother Nuria (Veronica Forqué) -- who walks on breathless tippy-toe like Jayne Mansfield and ends up seducing her son's fiancé.

Queens' credit sequence suggests a contemporary spin on one of the buoyantly goofy, candy-colored sex comedies that made Doris Day and Rock Hudson an item. The five queens are introduced over hot pinks and flame reds and a tinkling, bubbly score. And that introductory fluffy tone never lets up.

The film progresses from light to lighter as the wedding date nears in this harmless, lightweight frolic more in keeping with the chick flicks that butter Hollywood's bread than Almodóvar's transgressive sexploits.

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    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

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