Kristen Baldwin
February 06, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Funny, at the Jan. 22 L.A. premiere of the Spice Girls‘ giddy film romp Spice World, there wasn’t a hint of media backlash. Then again, inside, there wasn’t any media; the press was denied access to the screening at Mann’s Chinese Theater and the party at L.A.’s Palace. Though a Columbia spokesman explains, “We thought the best coverage would be of the girls arriving,” could it be that the platformed control freaks just really, really didn’t want reporters stomping their cinematic debut? (According to Columbia, the Girls had no input in planning.) Whatever. Inviting a fabulous crowd of store-bought celebrity dolls, EW stayed home and staged a dramatic interpretation of what might have taken place at the top secret fete.

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