The Second Most Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2015
Director John Madden
Screenplay by Ol Parker
Starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, David Strathairn, Richard Gere, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey, Tamsin Greig, Shazad Latif
When the original Most Exotic Marigold Hotel arrived in 2011, it rang as a pleasant surprise. The combination of gracefully aging Brits and youthful reinventing within India works like a charm. The Second story, featuring all of the surviving members of the cast, has the effect of so many episodes of the Love Boat. Everyone is looking for love, no one says what they mean and wacky hijinks rule the day.
Our young star couple Sonny and Sunaina (Patel and Desai) are preparing for marriage. These plans are fraught with the tension exhibited in Sonny’s attempts to find investors in the future of the hotel. Then there is the quite silly jealousy he has with his fiance’s friendship with…oh God who cares? We know how all of this ends up.
Our aging British folks are pretty much in the same boat that they were when last we saw them. Richard Gere joins the scene because Sonny’s mom (Dubey) needs to be swooned by a beautiful man on the rebound. Oh, did I mention he’s a writer, too?
The standouts for this round are once more Nighy, Smith and Dench. They handle the strangely subpar sophomore effort by Parker by giving the tired prose life that most other casts could not. Gere is only a slight downgrade from Wilkinson, but he brings Dubey to the fore, so that is a net positive.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the beautiful scenery, the pleasant people and the drawn out storylines that were decided by the time you’ve finished the first act. It’s all pleasant, and goes down easy. Just like we’d hope life would wind up. If they keep making these films, I will keep watching them.
(***1/2 out of *****)