Granger on Movies: 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'
Published 8:37 am, Sunday, March 29, 2015
If you liked "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2012), you'll enjoy the sequel.
As it begins, the exuberant proprietor Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) and resident-turned-partner Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) are in San Diego, pitching company called Evergreen, run by Ty Burley (David Strathairn), for financing to expand the residential facilities.
Meanwhile in India, elaborate plans are underway for Sonny to marry his fiancee Sunaina (Tena Desae). Enterprising Evelyn (Judi Dench) has become a successful textiles buyer and is ardently pursued by shy, lovelorn Douglas (Bill Nighy), who turns out to be Jaipur's most inept tourist guide.
Adding to the confusion, there are two new guests: Lavinia Beach (Tamsin Greig) says she's checking-out the facilities as a retirement home for her mother, while Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) claims to be a novelist. But ambitious, entrepreneurial Sonny suspects that he's really an inspector sent by Evergreen. And when Guy starts courting Sonny's widowed mother (Lillete Dubey), chaos reigns.
Expanding his original adaptation of Deborah Moggach's novel about financially challenged British pensioners who have "outsourced" their remaining years, Ol Parker's segmented screenplay juggles so many diverse characters, contrived storylines and picturesque glimpses into colorful Indian culture that sometimes it's hard to keep track.
But John Madden's direction stirs the subplots -- emotionally and physically -- resulting in an amicable, feel-good diversion for audiences of a certain age.
True to form, Maggie Smith gets the best lines, including giving an American tart instructions about how to make a proper cup of tea and uttering succinct put-downs like, "Just because I'm looking at you when you talk, don't think I'm listening -- or even interested."
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a satisfyingly soapy 7, culminating in a gloriously pseudo-Bollywood dance spectacle.
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