Spice World

With The Spice Girls, Mark McKinney, others

My Rating:

A pop-star vehicle that goes by quickly!
Add a full star: if you are a girl between ten and fourteen and the year is 1997.

Bitable Bytes:
"Don't rent it!"
"25 minutes is plenty!"

What to do while watching:
I can imagine using this movie to help convince a political prisoner, should you have captured one, to reveal critical military secrets.

What to eat while watching:
Nothing, for a few reasons. (It's over too quickly, it's not appetizing, it's an interesting experience to emulate anorexia....)

Well, friends, it has happened. I made the decision to stop watching a movie before it was over. I didn't even fast-forward this one as I have others: kung fu movies with particularly bad stories just to get to the fighting, or tapes of live ballet just because ballet in high speed looks so darned funny. No, the only thing I wanted to find out from the film was what the redhead's spice-name was, and since it was surely going to be a dialogue point, I would have missed it in FF. I'm not even sure why I wanted to know: I guess just to have something to do.

The Spice Girls, for anyone currently over 18 or under 12 who might have blinked during the late 1990s, were a pop-star team of five sassy British chicks (no undue objectification meant by that usage). They each had a set shtick that characterized them and set them apart from the others. Though hitherto, I had not even realized they were from anywhere but the U.S. epicenter of teen pop-star-dom, I can now tell you with some authority that they are: Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Posh Spice, Sport (or Sporty?) Spice, and the other one Spice, the redhead.

The film shows them ascending to stardom while an evil tabloid editor seeks to break the team up by hiring a spy photographer to do something to get them to argue. We all know how evil and powerful tabloid editors are! Probably some of the most important power brokers in the world! A tabloid editor would surely redline that last sentence as a fragment, and should the evil notion enter his or her head, they could say very nasty things about any old celebrity that might sell papers.

There's also a young British filmmaker who runs around acting like a filmmaker, trying to get his crew of two to film deep inside the souls of the Spice Girls. There's also a United Stateser duo of Mark McKinney of the late great Kids in the Hall, and the guy who played Norm on Cheers (I can never remember his name). They play a screenwriter and his agent trying to sell the SG's manager on some stupid film idea. Very comical how they are portrayed as a stereotypical clueless US creative team.

The Spice Girls bump into cameo-whore Elton John. They say that they like his glasses. Later in the movie (so the box promises), Elvis Costello, with his career on the skids, will make a cameo as well. If other cameos were coming up, they weren't promoted on the box, so I guess they couldn't be as big-named as Elton J. or Elvis C.

The SGs roll around town in a big bus painted with the British flag. Inside, they enjoy a fantastic playroom that's at least four times as wide as any bus. When they start to feel that they are stereotyped too much, they have a photo shoot in which they try on each others' wardrobes and anything else that strikes their individualistic fancies. What a refreshing way to liberate oneself from so much of being pigeon-holed! This is something akin to a pasta chef getting fed up with making spaghetti and choosing to make lunguine instead, for just one afternoon.

The film's first twenty-five minutes, at least, are punctuated with various cuts into fantasy realms. Skits with some of the worst, brownie-level writing I have ever seen, show what the spice personalities are really like.

And then, I turned off the VCR. I cut my losses and rewound the tape. Still, you gotta give them credit for trying. It takes so much creative energy focussed in one place to make a film. Someone has to really believe in a project to make it come together. And money and energy were invested in this film--enough money and energy that there is no need for you to contribute yours.

"Gooden," you say incredulously, "you surely didn't think you were in for a Cannes winner, did you?" Of course not, my friend.

It had been one of those nights. A cold which had hit me just in time for the weekend was finally subsiding when I went to the video store. A friend of a friend was having a party, but I still needed rest, so I decided on the default: dinner and a movie at home with the Mrs. Arriving at the video store, I knew instantly that I wasn't ready to pick a video. I didn't have my list with me, my mind was far too foggy to recall anything on it, and I had no inkling of a mood for one or another kind of viewing experience. My wife, usually quick at finding a few interesting prospects, seemed to be in the same space.

For a while, I just lingered at the espionage section because it's closest to the main video monitor, where the last scenes of Pretty in Pink were taking me back to my days as an angsty young man desperate for a cutey-pie like Molly Ringwald. (Yes, I was totally in love with her back then.) When that ended, a Simpsons tape came on, showing all the scenes where Bart crank calls Moe down at Moe's Tavern. Seymour Butts, I.P. Freely, Amanda Hugankiss, and Mike Rotch had me chuckling until I started coughing up phlegm in the video store. But no luck finding a flick.

We decided to give up, but on the way to the door, the wife (I'll blame her) spotted Spice World and had recalled seeing a preview that had the five talking over adjacent bathroom stalls. This "pee-view" had intrigued her, and in the name of getting to know our younger counterparts, we decided to do the research. I guess part of me might have entertained a prurient interest in the adventures of five young lasses; but I would need a much more acutely developed sense of lechery to hold the slightest interest in this film. It was made for teenage girls, after all.

Still, I will suffer for you, my dear readers. It is my hope that I can represent films from all genres, including the offal that you may then avoid stepping into. As a side note, I have noticed a hole in my variety. I have yet to review a horror or gore flick. This realization came due to a request for a review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Though I don't have much interest in the genre innately, that film might be the perfect antidote to a 25-minute overdose of the Spice Girls. If you feel a curiosity about this film, let me save you the trouble. Don't rent it.

I mean, really. Posh Spice? Baby Spice? What kind of spices are those? What about naming themselves for actual spices? Curry, Cayenne, Turmeric, Nutmeg, and Dill Weed make a lot more sense to me.

Want to share a happy story with Gooden?

Gooden loves to share!

For your collection: If it's a star vehicle you're after, you might try Buffalo 66, written, directed, and starring independent film man Vince Gallo.

Or, if it's music especially you're after, try Stormy Weather that shows off the talents of luminaries like Lena Horne, Mr. Bojangles, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and more.

Or, if it's contemporary music star vehicles you want, I can't recommend This is Spinal Tap highly enough, now re-released in collectors editions, here on DVD.

 Big Empire  Post-it Theater  Las Vegas  The Gift Electroniqué  Big Empire Buddies


©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.