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In 1996, the Spice Girls were everywhere. The pop girl group included Victoria Adams ("Posh Spice", later known as Victoria Beckham), Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice") and Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"). They practically defined the term "overnight success", so when the idea arose to make a film based on their success, it was almost immediately given the green light. Little over a year later, Spice World was released.
Spice World bounces back and forth between being a by-the-numbers ripoff of A Hard Day's Night, a self-spoof, and a harsh satire of the Spice Girls and their culture. Ultimately, the production as a whole is just so disjointed, it doesn't seem to really matter.
- Actor Allusion: Meat Loaf's character saying "he would do anything for [the Girls] but he won't do that."
- Roger Moore's character saying "There's no need for any stirring" as he is shaking a martini.
- As Himself: Sir Elton John, in a scene that...has no point except that he's there, really. Bob Geldof and Jonathan Ross also play themselves in the movie.
- Brick Joke: The bomb.
- Calvin Ball: Mel B. doesn't really know how to play chess.
Mel B: What d'you mean, "check"?
Geri: I mean, check; my bishop's got your king.
Mel B: Where?
Geri: There! You've either got to move it in front, or move it out of the way.
Mel B: Well I'll move that fairground horse to there. Sort that out!
Geri: You can't do that!
Mel B: Says who?
Geri: Says Mr. Chess! It's been in the rules for thousands of years!
Mel B: Well I'm gonna break the rules and set this little fairground horse free amongst all these little square fields, like that. (moves her piece randomly all around the board) There!
Geri: I'm gonna slap you in a minute!
- Compliment Backfire: On purpose--Jools Holland tells them "Okay, girls, that was absolutely perfect without... really being any good at all."
- Cuteness Proximity: Emma uses this to her advantage in Spice World.
- Dream Sequence: quite a few. Who would have imagined them (all) actually being mothers?
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mr. Step. Well, kinda. ("DON'T GIVE ME ANY OF THAT JULIE ANDREWS HILLTOP CLAPTRAP!")
- Driven to Suicide: Clifford, almost, played for laughs. He despairs when the burned-out girls storm off after an argument and nearly don't turn up for a huge concert:
Clifford: Okay. So this is the plan. The band starts up, the fans go wild, the lights come on, and I walk center stage... and hang myself.
- Five-Girl Band: The Girls themselves:
- Hollywood Nerd: Ginger is implied to be this; she's shown reading when she's off by herself, and has what the other Girls consider to be an annoying habit of dropping random trivia facts into the conversation.
- Lampshade Hanging: All over the place, especially in the sequence where Clifford meets with some Hollywood guys to discuss a potential film starring the girls, all of which have ludicrous plots.
Clifford: I think it stinks.
Graydon: Of course it stinks! But it's a start!
Chief: When the rabbit of chaos is pursued by the ferret of disorder through the fields of anarchy, it is time to hang your pants on the hook of darkness. Whether they're clean or not.
- Merchandise-Driven: The film was pretty much made to cash in on the Spice Girls, hawking their albums, concerts, and other merchandise.
- In-universe, when a movie for the "Spice Force 5" is pitched, they end the pitch with "THINK OF THE MERCHANDISING!"
- "Mission Impossible" Cable Drop: Spoofed in Mel C's intro.
- Money, Dear Boy: Richard E. Grant has cheerfully admitted that money was his primary consideration for appearing in the film. It's hard not to suspect that it was a primary consideration for most of the other participants as well.
- So My Kids Can Watch was also a motivator for Grant, as his pre-teen daughter was a big fan of the Spice Girls at the time.
- Obvious Pregnancy: Nicola, who goes into labor in a nightclub.
- Please Wake Up: "AND I'M VICTORIA, MALCOLM!"
- Rule of Cool
Graydon: And then suddenly, they're on top of the bus!
Graydon: The rules!
- Something That Begins With Boring: While waiting for Nicola's baby to be born, Ginger spies with her bionic eye something beginning with H. (It's "hospital.")
- The Stoic: Arguably Posh, who almost never smiles.
- Stylistic Suck: Although many will tell you that the entire movie sucks, the movie contains an intentional example; during the description of the frantic bus drive across London, a shot of the bus jumping the rising platform of Tower Bridge is rendered with a toy bus and a shoddy replica of the bridge to assuage one of the executive's worries that it would be too expensive otherwise.
- Totally Radical: Much of the film.
- Trailers Always Lie: The most-often-seen ad spot for the movie in the U.S. was a scene of Posh asking the other girls if her dress is too short. When they answer no, she hikes it up, and then they slap fives. To a six-year-old girl, it was hilarious, but it wasn't in the (U.S., at least...) release.
- Uncertain Audience: The Nostalgia Chick talks about how the movie is a weird mesh of kiddie jokes and adult humor.
- Quote Mining: Tabloid journalists quote one of the girls asking, "is the Pope Catholic?" in order to show off just how stupid they are. They conveniently leave out the detail about it being a rhetorical question.
- You Need to Get Laid: The Girls feel this way about their uptight manager, and say so behind his back.
- Your Mom: Clifford and the Italian director guy exchange a few of these, although they're actually just saying "your mother" without any verb attached.