Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

Director: John Madden
Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Tina Desae, Dev Patel, Lillete Dubey, Richard Gere, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Shazad Latif

The gang are back as Sonny (Patel) takes his muse Muriel (Smith) to America in the hopes of receiving funding to begin a chain of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's - hence the title - but with Sonny's upcoming wedding to Sunaina (Desae), another hot suitor enters the picture destroying his ideas for the future. Meanwhile, Evelyn (Dench) and Douglas (Nighy) are struggling to develop their relationship, Madge (Imrie) confides in her driver over her proposals to two elderly bachelors and Norman (Pickup) is in trouble when he drunkenly asks a taxi-driver to assassinate his wife.

Sequel doesn't repeat what went on in the first Exotic smash hit, therefore kudos to Madden, writer Ol Parker and crew for at least attempting something different, however the calibre of acting royalty deserves much more to play with than is delivered. Smith's role has been resorted to the work she does on Downton while Patel is forced to repeat his Bollywood dance moves from Slumdog Millionare.

The film does succeed in being exactly the type of film you think it is and their are some interesting storylines including that of Imrie's relationship with her characters driver and the romantic interlude that falls upon Sonny's aggressive mother, again played wonderfully by Dubey, and Richard Gere's American traveller Guy Chambers. Other new additions include Greig (Green Wing, Episodes) as a guest of the hotel and businessman and hotel magnate Strathairn, both likely to appear in future sequels; Wilton makes a surprise return as Nighy's ex-wife.

2.5/5

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