Movie Review: 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

A look at how the second installment stacks up to the 2011 film.

ByMICHAEL ROTHMAN
March 6, 2015, 12:12 PM
PHOTO: This image released by Fox Searchlight Films shows Lillete Dubey, left, and Richard Gere in a scene from "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
This image released by Fox Searchlight Films shows Lillete Dubey, left, and Richard Gere in a scene from "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
Fox Searchlight Films/AP Photo

— -- Starring - Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy

Rated - PG

Two stars out of five

At the start of "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," Maggie Smith’s Muriel scolds a waiter for consistently bringing her lukewarm water for her tea, quipping, “At my age, I don’t have time.”

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Did anybody tell her this movie is two hours long? I start getting antsy at 1:45, and I’m half her age.

In this sequel to 2011’s hit "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel fly to the United States, hoping to get a major senior-living chain to go into business with them, so they can buy a nearby property in India and open "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," and ultimately open similar facilities all over India. The company dispatches an undercover inspector to check out Sonny’s place before making their decision.

Back in India, we discover just about everybody is back from the first movie, including Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, and Lillete Dubay. Sonny is also on the verge of getting married and has an engagement party and wedding plans to deal with, but his professional ambitions may get in the way.

The various plot lines grow a little long in the tooth, with the best one being Evelyn (Dench) landing a job, at 79 years old, as head fabric buyer for a clothing company. It’s a reassuring story that gives the divine Dench plenty of opportunity to show off her legendary acting skills. It’s also fun to see her go toe-to-toe with Smith.

Richard Gere plays a man who may or may not be the hotel inspector. Either way, the ladies love having him around but he’s only got eyes for Sonny’s mother (Dubey). It’s one of the many silly stories being told in the sequel that doesn’t live up to the charm and intelligence of the first film. Sonny’s behavior in particular is so over the top and ill-advised, it’s almost too stupid to even be considered farce.

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a good place to check into if you want to take a nap, because frankly, while the actors give it their best shot, the story is boring.

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