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.

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