A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is essentially an ad for the Spice Girls music. Parents should also know that the women in the band play out some old but sexualized stereotypes: Especially disturbing is the Baby Spice look, which is essentially crazy platform boots and pink baby-doll lingerie. There's mild intensity when a newspaper editor attempts to undermine the Spice Girls' careers.
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What's the story?
Before Mel B. signed on to be a hoofer on Dancing with the Stars, before Victoria became the most famous (and frighteningly skinny) of the Footballers' Wives by marrying David Beckham, and before both Geri and Mel C. admitted to having had eating disorders, and before all of them talked about a reunion tour, they were just five perky girls with perky music. And for a brief time, they took over the world. Spice Word is a fictional look inside their essentially cheery and PG-rated tour.
Is it any good?
Forget any concept of plot, story development, or character development. Like The Monkees before it, SPICE WORLD is a surreal and wacky, but essentially harmless romp through the fictional world of the Spice Girls at the height of their fame. It's complete with an Austin Powers-style rec room for the girls, Meat Loaf as the driver, and an intercom system on which manager Clifford (the always-loony Richard E. Grant) barks out the orders of the day. But it gets loonier: There's "the boss," played by Roger Moore, who hands out gibberish code for Clifford to interpret, all while petting his cat or feeding a pet pig -- really. There's an evil newspaper editor who, sick of the girls getting good press, commissions a creepy bald guy (the movie's take on Charlie's Angels Creepy Thin Man) to stalk them and make up bad news about them. And then there's an odd subplot about friend Nicola (Naoko Mori) giving birth at any moment, with all five girls as the baby's godmothers.
The best scenes are when the girls switch up their costumes and try on one another's personas (Posh as Baby is hilarious). Also memorable is a look into Ginger's girl-power fantasy world where she changes into Bob Hoskins in a phone booth. They even have a brief homage to Monty Python with their Ministry of Silly Dance Steps German dance instructor. Nothing in this movie makes much sense -- which may annoy some parents watching -- but it's upbeat, pop-music-infused fun for tweens and teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different types of girls the singers represent. What's the difference between the roles they play and real girls? Is it easier to fit a mold? How can it be bad for girls still discovering who they are? Do you try on different personalities, kind of like the girls trying on each other's looks?
- In theaters: September 3, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: July 17, 1998
- Cast: Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham
- Director: Bob Spiers
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some vulgarity, brief nudity and language.
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