Movie Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

Posted: March 28, 2015 in Comedy
Tags: , , ,

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

Sonny Kappor’s (Dev Patel) plans to expand The Marigold Hotel takes him to San Diego with Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) to meet with Ty Burley (David Strathairn) American hotel chain owner and possible investor in the Marigold Hotel’s expansion.  Burley said he will invest, but only after he sends and inspector to give him a report on the hotel and how it’s run.  Sonny also plans to marry Sunaina (Tina Desai) but his plans for marriage and entrepreneurship are tested by Sunaina’s friend Vishal (Shazad Latif) who flirts with Sunaina and plans to buy the hotel that Sonny plans to buy to expand his franchise. Sonny thinks that new guest Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) is the spy sent by Burley.  Guy falls for Sonny’s mom, Mrs. Kapoor (Lilette Dubey)

Meanwhile, Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench) has been offered a fabric buyer’s job from a major clothing firm.  Douglas Ainslie (Bill Nighy) is a tour guide in India and still hasn’t committed to Evelyn.  Will their burgeoning romance be interrupted by Douglas’ wife, Jean (Penelope Wilton) who’s back in India for a speech given by techie daughter Laura. (Claire Price)  Will Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup) settle down with Carol Parr? (Diana Hardcastle) Which of her two suitors will Madge Hardcastle (Celia Immrie) choose?

This is a surprisingly good movie for a sequel, surprisingly funny, and emotionally engaging.  It didn’t pack the emotional punch of the first story, but the more serious storylines were surprisingly sensitive and well written.  There is more here for Indians or those interested in Indian culture, namely an Indian wedding, and a big Bollywood type song and dance number.  I’ve seen enough Bollywood movies to know that weddings are a big part of Indian culture.  Less successful was the romance between Guy and Mrs. Kapoor, Guy seemed like a playboy out for a quick fling, who didn’t really have and emotional attachment to Mrs. Kapoor.  Some of the tangential characters should have had less to do in the movie.

The acting was very good.  Dev Patel continues to surprise me with his performances.  He has surprisingly good comedic timing and can also handle the more serious moments.  Tina Desai is also good as Patel’s love interest handling the serious scenes with Patel well.  Judi Dench and Bill Nighy are wonderful as two people who are in love with each other but scared to death to make a commitment to each other.  The emotional center of the movie is Maggie Smith, who gives an exceptional performance as Sonny’s mentor.  She really holds the film together, and the film’s emotional tenor rises and falls with her.  Richard Gere doesn’t thrill me as an actor, and this performance did nothing to change that impression.  He struts around like a prize rooster, and expects everyone to swoon.  His wooden line readings made me queasy.

There wasn’t much to the direction, the song and dance number was well-shot, none of these seasoned actors need much direction, but the pacing does lag a bit at points, meaning the director could have left some of the film on the cutting room floor.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel: A few reservations, but a surprisingly well-built sequel.

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