The Spice Girls in SPICE WORLD (1997) – Not what you really want


Spice World marked the film debut of a heavily hyped singing group called The Spice Girls, but it was obviously intended to evoke a more legendary British rock band. The movie’s ad is plastered over with the British flag and the tag line “You say you want a revolution?” And like another first film, Spice World is a semi-documentary about the trials and tribulations leading up to a rock group’s concert.

Ripping off old Beatles concepts is about as radical as this movie gets. But the only way in which Spice World resembles that other, far superior rock film is that watching this movie does indeed make for a hard day’s night.

The film plays as though it’s written by someone who never understood Monty Python sketches and then tried to write one. And it’s no help that the five Spice Girls can hardly manage a personality among them. To lend credibility to the movie, there are cameos by Elton John, Meat Loaf, and Elvis Costello. Ironically, these genuine rockers display more movie charm in a few seconds of screen time than the Spices do in 100 minutes.

The movie centers on the efforts of the group’s manager (Richard E. Grant, who was in Steve Martin’s L.A. Story in better days) to keep the girls together for their big concert. But whereas the Beatles film credibly depicted a rock group’s fishbowl existence, The Spice Girls’ most pressing problem is which boots to wear on a social outing. Since even The Spices’ own movie can’t muster up any interest in their well-being, the running time is padded with fantasy sequences that wouldn’t pass muster on an old “Monkees” episode, and some embarrassing subplots involving Roger Moore and “Cheers'” George Wendt.

I’m no music critic, but I have to ask: Why do the female rockers most intent on displaying their feminist credentials always present themselves as sex objects? Yes, women can be powerful and sexy at the same time, but usually not by pandering to the lowest-common-denominator males. There is an interesting movie to be made about singers with names like Baby Spice who wear weirdly suggestive clothing and hairstyles. However, that movie would be at the other end of the spectrum from Spice World.

The funniest moment of this indifferent movie is the credit which informs us that the movie’s story is “based on an idea by The Spice Girls.” The movie handily proves that these women never had an original idea in their lives.