The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel photo starrating-1andahalfstars.jpgThe greatest thing about The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the title. God bless truth in advertising. This is a pale imitation of the original. The existence of which preys upon those wanting to relive the good times of the first film. It bilks poor trusting folks out of their hard earned cash. Judging from my audience that would be retired people over 60 which makes the act even more pernicious. The movie is a such an obvious cash grab I’m surprised they didn’t offer this in IMAX 3D so they could charge more money honestly. Truth be told, I found the first one to be kind of insipid. Yet that was an exhilarating enchantment compared to this transgression.

Let’s start with the overburdened plot. It’s positively stuffed with an extreme number of characters with yawn inducing story threads. Most of the ensemble returns with the exception of Tom Wilkinson who is sorely missed. If you saw the first one you’ll understand why he’s not here. He should thank the screenwriter. Sonny (Dev Patel) desperately wants to expand his hotel business with another property. But wait! He’s also planning his wedding to pretty Sunaina (Tina Desai) while being jealous of handsome family friend Kushal (Shazad Latif) whom Sonny distrusts. Is Kushal trying to steal his girl or does he want his real estate? Or both? Who cares! It’s hard to get past Sonny’s obsequious gestures and cloying demeanor. His embarrassing behavior is a full-blown caricature.  Imagine the hyperactive movements of a Disney cartoon and you’ll get his performance.

But we have yet to scratch the surface of this convoluted saga! Embittered curmudgeon Muriel (Maggie Smith) now manages the existing property with him. Evelyn (Judi Dench) works as a textile buyer and keeps tour guide Douglas (Bill Nighy) at bay. Let’s not forget his ex wife Jean (Penelope Wilton) who shows up late in the film just to be insufferable. Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Carol (Diana Hardcastle) are trying to remain faithful to each other. But are they? Madge (Celia Imrie) is always on the make. She makes Blanche Devereaux look like a nun. That’s a Golden Girls reference for you Millennials. Even with two wealthy suitors panting after her, another handsome visitor makes her head spin. That arrival is Guy, played by Richard Gere who is newly added to the cast. Is he the liaison sent to inspect the hotel for a possible investor? Never mind. He’s actually got his eyes on Sonny’s no nonsense mother (Lillete Dubey) in a slapdash romance that has about as much spark of a damp sponge. Lavinia (Tamsin Greig) is also a new guest there to look over the place for her mother. Can she even stay here? She looks like she’s in her 40s, a comparative baby to this lot. Did I mention she has a thing for Kushal?

The romantic escapades of the inhabitants of the Marigold Hotel is the subject of this soap opera masquerading as sophisticated entertainment. This is Love, American Style for the geriatric set. Although I hope I didn’t insult the early 1970s ABC TV anthology series. Seriously though. What are they feeding these folks? Even with all the amorous adventures, the production is absolute drudgery for a moviegoer to endure. Not much of consequence happens. Even the title refers to a subplot that doesn’t really figure into the story until the very end. A sensible and evolving drama is clearly not a priority of the script.  The narrative advances with the urgency of a three-toed sloth. Not to boast, but I’m rather proud I was able to stay awake during the snoozy happenings. Naturally everything culminates in a Bollywood style musical number at an Indian wedding.  Its presence only to adhere to some checklist of clichés. By then I had already checked out of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. My advice? Don’t even bother checking in.


24 Responses to “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

  1. I thought the first movie was alright, but didn’t feel that it was a movie begging for a sequel. Saying that, even without your review it wouldn’t be a movie I’d plan on watching. Can’t imagine it would add anything to the first one. And it seems it didn’t.


  2. Woof. Unimpressed eh? Can’t say I’ll be seeing this as the first didn’t really attract me. I enjoyed the vitriolic review all the same here. Good stuff.


  3. I saw TSBMH in Orlando, two hours from Sarasota – I wasn’t that eager to the film, but I had to devise a way to see the film and kill many hours before my flight left for Oslo.

    I liked the film a bit more than Mark did, but I am basing that on some inspired dialogue. Sadly the term inspriring is less true than what Mark called it – insipid.

    Sonny got off a good one, when he was trying to charm Guy. He said to Lavina – You;re much closer to Matyurity than the Mortuary.

    But on ghe whole Sonny was an asshole for most of the film.HIs false charm, his sucking up, are only a part of his obnoxious behavior throughout 7/8 of the film.

    I also liked the music very much. But as Mark says – the screenplay left much to dislike, and even more was so inexplicaly unfocused and shrill.

    It was as if the film’s spotlight would fall on an actor or actreess who would do some wonderfulsuff but when the cast was asked to split a scene , that’s wdhn it usually went south.


    • Yeah Sonny was a suck-up to everyone but Lavinia. He could’ve still been nice to her while giving her room to Guy. But no, he had to be rude. His character really got on my nerves.


  4. Jeez I haven’t heard anybody call a movie a “transgression”! I only thing I’ve heard that word in church! This review is meeeaaan, and I love it! Of course I’ll try and avoid the film though. Especially since you and I had similar thoughts on the first.


  5. This movie is getting so much hate. It’s just a sweet movie. No harm intended. I do agree that the story lines were weak, but how could you not love that cast. Love seeing all those legends on screen together. Ok, yes, Dev is too much a cartoon character. Everyone else was great. 3 stars


  6. Love your review! I enjoyed the first one, particularly Nighy and Dench, but I think I’ll steer clear of the sequel.


  7. Nice review Mark. I thought the first was a decent bit of fun but think I’ll leave this one well alone and not risk sullying the first.


  8. Awesome review. I kinda liked the first one but I have no desire to see this.


  9. smilingldsgirl Says:

    I have to say I disagree with you on this one. I liked it. To me it was a solid romcom with likable performers and stories I cared about. I was really charmed by it. 🙂


    • It had a great cast. Maggie Smith was good as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      • smilingldsgirl Says:

        So good! And I thought Judi Dench and Bill Nighy were interesting as an older couple who still find it hard to commit. The whole hitman storyline was silly I will grant you that but I guess I just found it so warm and cheerful I was charmed by it.


  10. I was amused by the honest title of this movie, but completely uninterested in seeing it. Not surprised to hear that it’s a pale imitation of the first film. All of the characters and story threads do sound yawn-inducing. Glad I didn’t check in.


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