It’s not Arrakis!
OK. I went to see this movie to wash the taste of Phantoms out of my mouth. I figured I would have to see it, having a movie review habit and all, but we did get three people in on one ticket, if that makes you respect me any more.
If you don’t have an idea who the Spice Girls are, what you really want, what you really want is to skip this movie. If you have an idea and are vaguely bemused by the phenomenon (you should see London) then it is actually a frothy, silly, harmless way to spend a couple of hours. This is no Titanic, people. This is a movie about women called Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Baby, and Scary, who sing and dance and wear the most horrible shoes invented.
The frightening thing is, I was pretty entertained. Maybe it was the cleansing colonic effect after seeing Phantoms, but a little bubble pop combined with like, 4 concurrent plot lines, all culminating in a live show and a little metafictional giggle, well, it hit the spot.
Along with some regrettably catchy ditties, some clever pseudo-dream sequences, a truly worth-a-dollar-by-itself visual gag with the tower of London, and some uncomfortably respectable actors making appearances make Bob Spiers’ Spice Opus quite watchable.
The movie is actually set up well for people who know nothing of all things Spice – they let us know what we need to know and then amuse us for a while. Richard E Grant is their maniacal manager, and he’s funny. Roger Moore in a self-mocking small role, is a cryptic megalobossman. Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff and author of Rocky Horror), Bob Hoskins, Alan Cumming, Meat Loaf, Elton John…
George Wendt and Mark McKinney are Hollywood agents trying to pitch a Spice Girls movie to Grant while the girls are touring. Cumming is a press man who wants to destroy their career for big headlines…um, or else he’s a documentarian following them around their tour, trying to get the real story. O’Brien is a spy hunting down incriminating photos, a la the royals. Their best friend is about to have a baby and they want to be there for the birth. On top of it, there’s dissension in the band and flashbacks and all kinds of silly stuff. Sad to say, compared to some of the crap that has paraded across the big screen lately, it’s downright complex and introspective.
One flashback to before they were famous, they sing and dance to a jam box in their friend’s restaurant in the same style (and lighting and camerawork style) as an old Cyndi Lauper video, where it’s supposed to look like her parent’s house and she’s just there, but really it’s a huge obvious set?
These blue trash gals are likable and not offensive on camera. They are having a great time making this movie and they just want us to have fun watching it. It demands no more of you than that. The previews take some of the goofy metafictional sequences and try and pass it off as the actual movie, which I think hurts them – in context, the scenes are more cartoony but there is a purpose.
Three people in the audience danced at the finale, too, male and female, so it couldn’t have sucked. If you’re a Spice fan, go.
No nudity, sorry guys.
So pay a buck, take a load off, sip a soda, and enjoy it for what it is. Or just buy their album.
*Note: originally rated Dollar Movie, which was between Catch the Network Premiere and Catch it on HBO
MPAA Rating PG
Release date 1/23/98
Time in minutes 93
Director Bob Spiers
Studio Columbia TriStar