Film Review by Jon E Clist
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Gere) and Lavinia (Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Dench and Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Pickup and Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets.
The first film in this franchise was certainly a feel good laugh a minute winner with its audiences. It is one of the few films that has entertained a wide variety of demographic groups both in the cinemas and on DVD alike. The first I had heard about there being a sequel was when it was rumoured that Dame Judi Dench couldn’t attend an event because she was busy filming in India. The first thought is always going to be is the storyline of a film able to be expanded naturally in order to withstand a follow up? For me, I struggled at first to see the need or natural flow in the case of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Then the second thought is well it was a good film so maybe a second could work?
The concept of what becomes of the classic characters from the first film is a good old basis for making another film and for the most part, the jokes and fun is back again. However, there is now so much focus on the character of Sonny and his endless drive to grow the business to the detriment of his own relationship with Sunaina. Now that is a rather predictable and typical direction for a general run of the mill romantic comedy and so here it feels somewhat of a poor story choice or perhaps execution that kind of holds the entire film back a little.
Like its predecessor the film hinges on the coming together of a selection of individuals stories and sub-plots. Sure they kind of do fit together here and even though at some stages it feels a little forced, it still does take you on a fun journey. If I was to share my own frustration at the film it would be in the lack of consequences that characters face as a result of their dumb decisions. Where the first film was about finding a place to make a brand new start, the second is about still making bad decisions but not having to face the consequences.
Okay so I will say that it was still a good laugh and the additions of Richard Gere and Tamsin Grieg are well placed and do add a nice little distraction from the other characters.
There is still a lot of laughs to be enjoyed in this film, however the lack of real life consequences within the storyline kind of makes it harder to lose yourself in like the original.
Releases: 26th February 2015
Rating: PG – Contains coarse language & sexual references
Duration: 122 minutes
Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, Penelope Wilton, Tamsin Greig, David Strathairn, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle
Director: John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
In the trailer, Evelyn (Judi Dench) claims Muriel (Maggie Smith) is only 19 days older than her. In real life, Maggie Smith (b. 12/28/34) is in fact exactly 19 days younger than Dame Judi Dench (b.12/9/34).
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