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Non-Review Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes a formula that worked well enough the first time, and tries to figure just how much it can add in on top without throwing everything out of a balance. When producing a sequel, the tendency is to double down on what worked before – to commit to the bits to which the audience responded, sometimes missing the fact that moderation might have been some of the appeal. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel commits to its cast, putting the various star through a wide variety of sitcom premises that look like they might have been lifted from a UK Gold marathon.

In some ways, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel feels a little bit like the ambitious construction and renovation project planned by Sonny Kapoor: sprawling, excessive, unwieldy, overly elaborate. The main cast are not clustered as they were the first time around, meaning that The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel feels disjointed at best and haphazard at worst. Richard Gere arrives to lend some extra prestige (and some international appeal) to the film, but seems almost like a distraction from the thespians around him.

Getting into Gere...

Getting into Gere…

There are points where it feels like The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel might collapse under its own weight. The character plots don’t really intersect or overlap, so the ensemble frequently finding themselves fighting for space as the movie tries to figure out who warrants the most attention. (The relative name recognition seems to offer a convenient deciding factor, which is a shame in some respects.) While director John Madden does not keep as tight a rein on the film as he might, he prevents the film from completely dissolving into a series of interconnected sitcom episodes.

Still, despite these problems, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel delivers what it promises: a familiar framework for veteran actors to demonstrate that they can still carry a light and entertaining film.

No need to make a song and dance about it...

No need to make a song and dance about it…

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Non-Review Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

Coming from director John Madden, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is fairly straight-forward in what it offers audiences. Unlike Dev Patel’s entrepreneurial “Sonny”, who lures foreign tourists to his Indian hotel using a carefully photoshopped image, there’s no sense that the movie is in any way misleading. It’s a feel-good travel comedy-drama that throws together a wealth of experienced British talent in a story about embracing life and change and various other wonderful aspects of existence. It’s always thrilling to see these sorts of actors afforded the opportunity to shine, and a huge amount of the appeal of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is in watching its veteran thespians just cut loose and have a bit of fun.

Lounging around...

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