Films with London in the title aren't the only films about London - there are also loads of films that feature London, almost as a co-star. In this series, we'll take a look at those films - both the good and the very, very bad.
Spice World (1997)
Director: Bob Spiers
Starring: Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Haliwell, Richard E Grant, Alan Cumming
In July 1996, Wannabe hit the UK charts and the Spice Girls phenomenon was born. Sixteen mere months later, the Spice Girls movie, Spice World, hit our screens to coincide with their second album, the similarly named, (but just one word, not two for some reason) Spiceworld. Six months later, Geri left the band and the decline of the Spice Girls began. Looking back, doesn’t it seem like all that took longer than two years?
To be fair to the girls, Spice World is actually a fun movie. They’re clearly trying very hard to make it their own A Hard Day’s Night, and it kind of works. It is fun, and even for those viewers who don’t know the girls’ individual Spice characters, it’s pretty easy to figure out what's going on. It’s hard to know in retrospect if the girls are playing themselves or their Spice Girls characters. But does it even matter?
The film is chock filled with guest stars (including Roger Moore, Meatloaf, Elton John, Jonathan Ross, Jennifer Saunders, Bob Geldof, Bob Hoskins, Stephen Fry, Elvis Costello and Jools Holland), which is fun. But the plot isn’t the point in a film like this. The main “plot”, as it were, concerns getting the girls ready for their first live performance at Royal Albert Hall, which their manager Clifford (Grant) insists they prepare for. They’d rather hang out with their pregnant friend. The girls seem to be attempting to make a point about how friendship and their social lives are more important than their work commitments. But, as they refuse to rehearse, throw temper tantrums and storm out the day before the big show, they really come across more selfish and childish than loyal and honourable. (We assume that wasn’t what they were going for, so that message kind of falls flat.) They’re also being followed by a documentary maker (Cumming), getting pitched film ideas and under attack by a newspaper owner. Actually, now that we think about it, it’s quite a bit of plot for a film with not much storyline.
Practically the whole film is set in London, but as to be expected in a wacky madcap film like this, it’s not a very realistic London. There are plenty of geographical mistakes, but we’re pretty sure they were intended, so we’ll let them slide. The girls drive around in a union jack Routemaster, which we enjoyed.
The girls are really not good actresses. Victoria is particularly bad, but again it’s all done in a very self knowing way. There’s a back and forth between the movie producers which sums it up:
"They’re young, they’re cute, they’re hip, they’re wacky!"
"Yeah, but can they act?"
Well, no. But that’s not the point, is it? This is a fun, frothy movie, and it’s a fun, frothy London. Not very realistic, but very pretty. And we enjoy a pretty London. And, oh yeah. They sing some songs as well. Quite a few of them, actually. We won’t embarrass ourselves by admitting how many words we knew. We're not asahmed, however, to admit that we found this film to be pretty fun. It's a little slice of the late nineties, and who are we to disparage history?
Time Spent In London: The whole thing, except the slightly confusing boot camp scene. (Don’t ask.)
London Icons Spotted: St Pauls, Battersea Power Station, Royal Albert Hall, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Southbank
Glaring London Errors: We’ll give the filmmakers that the crazily roundabout route the girls take to the final concert was intended to be funny. If that’s the case, not really any.
Things They Got Right: The Spice Girls sure were popular. And people did really wear platform trainers that high. Ahh, 1997. Good times.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Previously on Co-Starring London: