Some days you crave a bold cocktail, some others a mellow cup of tea. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel comes back as soothing and cozy as its predecessor.
Director John Madden returns to pick up briefly after the events of the first film in a smooth and cohesive way. He knows what works about this franchise and isn’t trying to fix what ain’t broken: beautiful exotic locations, humor, romance, and an essentially charming cast. It feels like a celebration of the characters more than anything else, even opening with Sonny (Dev Patel) calling for everyone by their names. After that it becomes an assemble effort to entertain and delight, following a sometimes too “formula” script, but surely to entertain fans of this type of cinema.
What this film lacks in action sequences and car chases, it makes up for stunning cinematography. India is portrayed colorful, hectic and vibrant, a perfect juxtaposition to a story about people finding themselves often surprised to be working, riding bikes and falling in love in their elderly. To watch someone find “joie de vivre” after turning sixty can be very reassuring at any age, that’s probably why films like this (when well executed) will always find a place among audiences. Spoiler alert: One of the ladies is even reading Fifty Shades of Grey! (as Mr. George Takei would say: Oh-My!). This is a (very PG) “wild” bunch.
Joining a great cast (Maggie Smith’s “Muriel” is a personal favorite. Judi Dench is her usual fantastic), are Tamsin Greig (Shaun of the Dead) and Richard Gere, bringing his “silver foxiness” to screen as one the new seductive guest of the Hotel.
This might not be the most audacious or innovative feature of the year, but The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a welcomed charmer in a box office filled with raunchy (and not very good) comedies, bondage-romance and un-thrilling thrillers. Is a story about being open to change, taking chances, and learning even at a later age. Sweet, uncomplicated and utterly satisfying. Like a cup of tea.
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