Spice World

Spice World is a 1997 British/American musical comedy film directed by Bob Spiers, written by Kim Fuller and Jamie Curtis, and starring the best-selling pop girl groups the Spice Girls. The light hearted comedy, made in a similar vein to The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, depicts fictional events leading up to a major concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, liberally interspersed with dream sequences and flashbacks as well as surreal moments and humorous asides. The film premiered on 15 December 1997 and was released in British cinemas on Boxing Day, followed by the North American release (distributed by Columbia Pictures) on 23 January 1998. Spice World proved to be a hit at the box office breaking the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222. The movie took in total $77 million dollars at the box office worldwide, $100 million combining cinema tickets and DVD Sales, including $30 million in the USA and £11 million in Britain. Despite it being successful at the box office, the film received negative reviews. It has since become a cult classic due to home video releases.

Spice World – The 10th Anniversary Edition was released on DVD on 19 November 2007 in the UK and Australia and 27 November 2007 in the U.S.

Movie Plot

The Spice Girls perform their song "Too Much" at the Top of the Pops during the film's opening credits, but they later become dissatisfied with the burdens of it. The sinister newspaper owner, Kevin McMaxford (Barry Humphries), is attempting to ruin the girls' reputation and even dispatches a photographer, Damien (Richard O'Brien), to take pictures and tape recordings of the girls. Less threatening but more annoying is a film director, Piers Cuthbertson-Smyth (Alan Cumming), who stalks the girls along with his crew, hoping to use them as documentary subjects. At the same time, the girls' manager, Clifford (Richard E. Grant), is fending off with two overeager Hollywood writers, Martin Barnfield and Graydon (George Wendt and Mark McKinney), who relentlessly pitch absurd plot ideas for the girls' film. Amid this, the girls must prepare for their concert at the Albert Hall, their biggest performance throughout their career. At the heart of it, the constant practices, traveling, publicity appearances, and other burdens of celebrity affect the girls on a personal level, preventing them from spending much time with their pregnant best friend, Nicola (Naoko Mori), who is due to give birth soon. Throughout their busy schedule, the girls attempt to ask Clifford for a time off to spend with Nicola and relax, but Clifford refuses after talking with the head of the girls' record label, the cryptic and eccentric "Chief" (Roger Moore). The stress and overwork compound, which culminating in a huge argument between Clifford and the girls, who unexpectedly storm out the evening before their gig at the Albert Hall.

The girls separately think back on their humble beginnings and their struggle to the top. They reunite by chance outside the now-closed pub where they practised during their childhood years, reconcile, and decide to take Nicola out dancing. However, Nicola goes into labour at the nightclub and is rushed to the hospital in the girls' bus. The girls decided to stay at the hospital to provide Nicola with support and refuse to perform at the Albert Hall until after Nicola has given birth. On the day of the girls' Albert Hall gig, Nicola finally gives birth to a baby girl. As the girls are preparing to leave the hospital for their Albert Hall gig, they accidentally bump into a doctor. When Emma notices that he has a camera, the girls realize that the doctor is Damien, who runs off with the girls in hot pursuit, only to hit his head after accidentally colliding with an empty stretcher. When Damien sees the girls standing over him, he tells them that they have made him see the error of his ways, and he goes after McMaxford, who is subsequently fired in a "Jacuzzi Scandal". After noticing the girls' bus driver, Dennis (Meat Loaf) is missing, Victoria decides to drive herself. So, it becomes a race against time as Victoria drives like a maniac. While approaching to the Tower Bridge, it starts to go up to let a boat through the River Thames. Victoria drives up the bridge and over the gap in a low-tech clip. The bus finally lands safely on the other side of London, but when Emma opens a trapdoor in the floor, she discovers a bomb, and the girls scream before Emma slams the trapdoor shut again.

The girls finally arrive at the Albert Hall for their performance and run up the steps to the Rocky theme. However, the girls have one more obstacle to overcome: a London policeman (Kevin McNally) charged the girls with: "dangerous driving, criminal damage, flying a bus without a license, and frightening the pigeons". Emma pushes forward and tells the policeman that she and the other girls were late for their performance at the Albert Hall. Emma smiles at the policeman, and he lets the girls off for their performance. The film ends when the girls perform their song "Spice Up Your Life" at the centre stage of the Albert Hall. The supporting cast later talk about the girls' film during the closing credits. Mel C breaks the fourth wall and tells the other girls that the outgoing audience is watching them. The girls talk to the audience and discuss their film, just minutes before the bomb in their bus explodes and then the film ends and the credits roll.

A sequel was never made for Spice World and so it's the only film the Spice Girls ever did.

Cast Of Spice World

The Spice Girls

Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice)

Melanie Brown (Scary Spice)

Emma Bunton (Baby Spice)

Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice)  

Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice)

Richard E. Grant as Clifford, the girls' manager

Claire Rushbrook as Deborah, the girls' assistant

Roger Moore as The Chief, the head of the girls' record label

Naoko Mori as Nicola, the girls' pregnant best friend

Meat Loaf as Dennis, the girls' bus driver

Barry Humphries as Kevin McMaxford, the sinister newspaper owner who attempts to ruin the girls' reputation in order to cash in on the headlines.

Richard O'Brien as Damien, a paparazzi photographer who takes pictures and tape recordings of the girls.

Alan Cumming as Piers Cuthbertson-Smyth, a film director who stalks the girls, hoping to use them as documentary subjects.

George Wendt and Mark McKinney as Martin Barnfield and Graydon, two overeager Hollywood writers who relentlessly pitch absurd plot ideas for the girls' film.

Michael Barrymore as Mr. Step, the choreographer

Jools Holland as Musical director

Kevin McNally as Policeman and Dance of the Goblins disassociator

Kevin Allen as Gainer, television director

Peter Sissons as Newsreader

Richard Briers as Bishop

Dominic West as Photographer

Bill Paterson as Brian

Cameo appearances

Jonathan Ross

Elvis Costello as bartender

Elton John

Bob Geldof ("I did the Spice Girls movie because Pixie and Peaches were tiny and they were obsessed with the Spice Girls, as all little girls should be," Geldof told Q. "If you look closely at the scene I'm in with Scary Spice, you can just see the top of their heads staring up at her.")

Bob Hoskins

Jennifer Saunders

Hugh Laurie

Stephen Fry

Film Production

Director Bob Spiers had been working in America on the Disney film That Darn Cat at the peak of the Spice Girls' popularity. He was unaware of the group when first offered the job until friend Jennifer Saunders advised that he take it. He arrived at a meeting with them in a New York hotel unaware of what they looked like.

Gary Glitter filmed a four-minute cameo appearance as himself, but shortly before the film was to be released he was arrested on child porn offenses. The Spice Girls and the production team agreed that his cameo should be deleted from the final print. The performance of Glitter's "Leader of the Gang" was retained.

Two real-world deaths after filming prompted edits to the film. Mentions of Princess Diana and scenes including the designer Gianni Versace were made in the film but cut out because they were both alive when the film was made but both died before its release.

The film reunited Meat Loaf and Richard O'Brien, who co-starred in the 1975 classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Release and Critics

Spice World was a hit at the box office breaking the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222. The movie took in total $77 million dollars at the box office worldwide

Film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave Spice World a rating of 29% based on reviews from 34 critics. All Movie gave it 2/5 stars.

Noted American film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 0.5/4 stars and listed Spice World as one of his most hated films, saying: "The Spice Girls are easier to tell apart than the Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that is small consolation: What can you say about five women whose principal distinguishing characteristic is that they have different names? They occupy "Spice World" as if they were watching it: They're so detached they can't even successfully lip-synch their own songs." And when he reviewed the film on his and Gene Siskel's film critique program Siskel & Ebert, and only 3 weeks into 1998 he declared that he had already seen the worst film of that year, calling it "an entertainment-free dead zone". Ebert would include this film on the Worst of 1998 special; but he chose Armageddon as the worst film of 1998.


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