The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Directed by John Madden
Starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Tina Desai, Diana Hardcastle, Lillete Dubey, Tamsin Greig, David Strathairn and Richard Gere
In UK Cinemas February 26th, 2015

by Laura Patricia Jones

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a rare gem – A golden years ensemble of British thespians led by two dames, with a script both hilarious and moving. So can the second live up to the first installment of good old English delight?

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel brings us back to the vibrant retreat of Jaipur in retirement-home India. Set eight months after the first Indian adventure, Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) are driving down Route 66 to charm business minds for the financing of Sonny’s expanding empire. The big boss of a chain seems up for their ambitious proposal, but says he’ll send ‘his guy’ along – an undercover inspector – to see the true best exotic experience firsthand. This is where we all wait with bated breath for it to all go a bit Fawlty Towers

Queue entrance of silver fox Richard Gere as ‘Guy Chambers,’ aspiring novelist. It’s a beautifully set up farce as Lavinia checks in claiming to be researching a retirement hotel for her mother, and events unfold. Meanwhile, the gang are readjusting to life out of blightly as plans are put in place for Sonny’s big fat traditional wedding to the love of his life.

The film as a whole is charming yet cheesy, but seems to lack an enticing plot. Unlike its predecessor, you can tell where this is going from the outset. Resting on its laurels from an all-star cast along with witty one liners, it’s certainly a very enjoyable watch, but one that lacks the substance of the first. One thing you can count on is that even as a white haired gent – Richard Gere is still hot!

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a film for a feel good evening full of Indian flavour with a generous helping of British wit – just don’t expect to be moved.

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