The Spice Girls are a global pop star phenomenon and everyone wants to be a part of their world, but for their manager Clifford (Richard E. Grant) this means another hectic day of organising their appearances and publicity.
After appearing on Top of the Pops, the group head off in their Union Jack-adorned tour bus as Clifford attempts to keep them in line while documentary maker Piers (Alan Cumming) is preparing to catch some candid shots of the girls.
If there’s one thing that Spiceworld did get right about 1997, it’s that – love them or hate them – everyone seemed to be obsessed with The Spice Girls: you could keep your Blur and Oasis and Robbie Williams, it was these five young Brits who bestrode the entertainment world like colossi (colossuses?).
The plot is perfunctory to say the least and serves largely to hurry the stars along from celebrity cameo to musical number without allowing the audience to pause and perhaps consider the slightly shoddy air of the project.
Roger Moore parodies his old Bond nemeses by playing an animal-stroking, prophecy-spouting boss (“When the speeding melon hits the wall, it’s Christmas for the crows”), Stephen Fry is a hilarious high court judge, and Meat Loaf is the girls’ bus driver (“I would do anything for those girls – but I won’t do that”).
It was dated almost six months after it came out, and there are elements that would never be considered for inclusion in family entertainment today, such as the Gary Glitter cover version (he was supposed to appear too before his child porn conviction) and disgraced showbiz animal Michael Barrymore as dance instructor/drill instructor Mr Step.
Geri is the know-it-all; Mel C likes football; Victoria likes fashion and can’t run in heels; Emma behaves like sweetness and light while sucking lollipops, and Mel B . . . well, they seem to have forgotten to give her a personality quirk.
It was clear this film was a promotional tool to flog the new album and add oodles more cash to their bank accounts but if there was one message fashionistas got from this flick it’s that fashion is about following your own style . . .
See Sporty Spice’s comfy tracksuit and Posh Spice’s Hepburnesque simple black dress – and Baby and Scary Spice made it OK to wear the first thing that was found on the bedroom floor.
Richard E. Grant