Spiceworld - The Movie

A good time will be had by all who know what to expect from the five cute sweethearts of the pop stage (and now screen) who promise to give you what you really, really want; nothing more and nothing less. The film is a fun romp with the five beauties bouncing around through the world they inhabit while oodles of stars keep popping up unexpectedly in cameos to add to the laughs.

For those of you can still remember "A Hard Day's Night", this product might only seem to be an empty shell, but, let me remind you, times have changed. The Spice Girls might have lots of energy, looks, ambition, panache, money, and clothes, but the Beatles had something called wit. (The Beatles will, undoubtedly, capture more minds in future generations, but the demands of the present generation seem to be more and more satisfied by instantaneous gratification.) As the girls cut around the corners of London's streets in their gigantic double-decker bus, one thinks back to the bus in Magical Mystery Tour. Just as the Beatles, during their most productive years, created at least three fascinating cinema documents to ponder, this film attempts to achieve something of equal footing without bothering about incorporating excessive qualities of cleverness or wit. One of the scenes that does manage to hold something of a candle is the photo shoot-where the girls are modeling clothes. Another real moment of laughter is Bob Hoskins' exit from the phone booth. One can almost imagine them lounging around some luxurious flat and choosing whatever flew into their cute little heads to serve as plot line. Those who adore the Spice Girls, however, will undoubtedly enjoy themselves watching this fun-loving adolescent romp. The song numbers succeed and are fun, but a few less close-ups would have drawn less attention to the less than perfect lip-sync. Polished and slick, fast-paced and sexy, don't ask for anything more.

The Girls are on their way to the Albert Hall (sound familiar?) in five days time and it's busy, busy, busy as everybody tries to keep up with them. From paparazzi to producers, they all wind up in a bit of the action as the frenetic five sail across the streets and over the river in an ambitious race to fill their pockets while giving the fans what they want (,well almost). The Girls find it enthralling to enthrall and they find themselves most enthralling of all.

As far as acting in the film goes, we can be summary about the girls and go straight to the other players. Richard E. Grant as Clifford, their manager, and Alan Cumming as documentary director Piers Cutherton- Smyth have sizable roles and have, unfortunately, been directed to give performances at variance with their normal state-of-the-art work. The result is that these two usually very funny comedians come off as rank amateurs. On the other hand, those who were wise enough to join in the fun solely for cameos (such as Hoskins, Meatloaf, Roger Moore, Richard O' Brien, Barry Humphries, George Wendt, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Saunders, Jools Hollland, Bob Geldof, Elton John, Bill Paterson, Richard Briers, Jonathan Ross, and others) come off much better for taking the whole thing as a joke. The script and dialogue don't really pretend to be anything more than a joke.

As for all the discussion about the Spice Girls' future: what can I say except Take That?

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett