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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie review: return visit

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel yellow light

There’s not much of a story, just a chance to spend more time with the gang of classy sexy randy oldsters. And that’s just fine.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Well, what else were they going to call the sequel? At least there is an actual “second best” iteration of Sonny Kapoor’s (Dev Patel: The Last Airbender) residential hotel in the works: he is ready to expand into a new location in Jaipur, thanks in part to the steady business hand of his partner and one-time first guest (back in the previous film, that is), Muriel (Maggie Smith: My Old Lady). There actually isn’t much of the way of story this time around, just some gentle dramedy, as everyone is prodded to settle into the ex-pat retirements they chose in the first film; this is a more subtle film than last time out, with comedy that’s less clunky and characters more nuanced. “How many new lives can we have?” Douglas (Bill Nighy: Pride) marvels as new options open up, and this cheerful film — from returning team of director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and screenwriter Ol Parker (Now Is Good) — seems to reply, “As many as you want, and why not?” It kinda doesn’t matter if this movie really doesn’t exist except as an excuse to hang out some more with the gang of classy sexy randy oldsters that also includes Evelyn (Judi Dench: Philomena), Madge (Celia Imrie: The Love Punch), Norman (Ronald Pickup: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), and new boy Guy (Richard Gere: Movie 43), who sets hormones aflutter but who takes a shine only to Sonny’s beautiful widowed mom (Lillete Dubey: The Lunchbox). (Sonny takes Guy for a hotel inspector; cue some minor Fawlty Towers-esque shenanigans.) It’s a pity the very funny Tamsin Greig (Arthur Christmas), as another hotel guest, doesn’t get much a chance to do her thing. She’s simply too young, perhaps, to have much to say to her more accomplished and sophisticated elders. And it’s not often that a movie is so full of intriguing older people that you can say that about it.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for its representation of girls and women.

yellow light 2.5 stars

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
US/Can release: Mar 06 2015
UK/Ire release: Feb 26 2015

MPAA: rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
BBFC: rated PG (mild bad language, sex references)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Judy

    I’m looking forward to this one.

  • RogerBW

    Tamsin Greig keeps being in nearly the right role. She was excellent in Tamara Drewe (arguably the best thing about it), but otherwise she seems to get near misses. Still, I gather her stage career is her primary focus.

  • Hank Graham

    Either Celia Imrie or Bill Nighy are enough to make me go see it, just to throw my support to it.

    And now you tell me it has Tamsin Greig in it, as well? (Who should feature prominently were you ever to do a “Female Gazing” segment.) I am *so* there. :)

    P.S. You should do a review of “Black Books,” so that more people will hear of it and seek it out.

  • There’s lots of TV I could champion. *Black Books* would be in that category.

  • Beowulf

    Spot on review. My wife and I went to the 4 PM (the first of the day) show on Monday expecting to be by ourselves. There was a pretty good turnout, mostly over 50. If you build it, they will come. I’m one of the first of the Baby Boomers born just after the war (if you have to ask…) and there are more like me coming every year for the next fifteen or so.

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