The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Film Review

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I did love the first Exotic Marigold Hotel because it focused on a fresh group of people – those who are getting on a bit – and was set in India, which doesn’t happen often. This time around, the novelty had worn off and it was simply not as good. The warmth and love I felt for the first one isn’t replicated this time around and I think it’s because it was trying to be too similar to the first one while juggling too many storylines.

If you’ve seen the first one you will know the hotel is for the “the elderly and beautiful” and is filled with guests who stay on a permanent basis, so the owner Sonny (Dev Patel) wants to expand with a second hotel and is looking for an investor with his co-manager (Maggie Smith). These business dealings distract Sonny and threaten to derail his upcoming marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai), especially when a potential undercover hotel inspector shows up, played by Richard Gere. There are also many storylines with the guests from Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) verging on becoming more than friends though neither can make the leap, Madge (Celia Imrie) who is trying to decide between two lovers while Norman (Ronald Pickup) fears he has taken out a hit on his girlfriend.

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As you can see, the film tries to juggle far too many balls. I know they want each character to have their own lives outside the hotel but that meant none of the storylines were given enough time to develop and be tied up in a satisfying way. For example, even from the end of the last film it was obvious Evelyn and Douglas would get together so why all the faffing around?!  All of the threads were incredibly predictable, so you saw the ending miles ahead of it actually happening.

I love the setting, the music and Dev Patel. He makes this movie for me because Sonny is so eccentric and hyper enthusiastic and made me laugh the most. I also loved the dancing in this. The routines were a joy to watch. It’s just a pity the final dance wasn’t the ending – that would have been a perfect way to wrap it up – instead it was cut with a plodding narration from Maggie about life and time, which I think was supposed to be positive and inspiring but I honestly thought she was about to kill herself.

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If you liked the first film and want exactly more of the same, then you will probably enjoy this but I wanted it to be slightly different and to do something more interesting with the characters and setting. It’s really only an extension of the original and it is a nice enough movie to while away an afternoon but it could have been funnier and the storylines could have been tighter and more intriguing.

 

Released Friday

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