In theatres tomorrow from director John Madden and Fox Searchlight Pictures is a return to India to find THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL.
In Jaipur, Sonny (Dev Patel) is at it once again along with co-manager Muriel (Maggie Smith), as they try to expand their hotel empire. Wanting to secure the funding, they are told that someone would be visiting the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to see its inner workings before a decision can be made.
Sonny is hopeful but on edge as his wedding to Sunaina (Tina Desai) fast approaches. Spending so much time on the idea of a hotel expansion, he is not giving his young lady the attention she deserves.
If that isn’t chaos enough, the gang is still together as Evelyn (Judi Dench) has been busy in the mercantile world, Douglas (Bill Nighy) has become quite the tour guide, Norman (Ronald Pickup) is keeping monogamous and Carol (Diana Hardcastle) – well, isn’t! Madge (Celia Imrie) is experiencing a life change about love and Muriel is trying to keep it all together.
When Guy (Richard Gere) arrives, there is a shuffle in rooms as Lavinia (Tamsin Greig) also arrives at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. For Guy, it’s Sonny’s mother Mrs. Kapoor (Lillete Dubey) who catches his eye!
Round and round they all go only to end up where they all want to be!
FINAL WORD: Dench as Evelyn is just endearing and goes to show that playing hard to get doesn’t get easier with time! Not sure of what she wants with her life and love; it takes one simple moment of clarity to bring it all together. I just loved watching her perform next to Nighy with an innocence that was amazing.
Nighy as Douglas knows what he wants but isn’t quite sure how to get it. Not having much experience at the chase (and if you remember his ex-Susan you’ll figure out why), it seems he takes a little advice from his moped mechanic. Hey, get good advice where you can! Nighy is very funny and so very charming – just a winner.
Patel as Sonny is going a million miles an hour and it was just dizzying to watch. If his brain wasn’t running in circles his mouth certainly was. I can’t even imagine how he learned all those lines and then throw them out with such ease. Desai as Sunaina is just so lovely and perfectly matched with Sonny.
Gere as Guy seems a bit wobbly in this role. I could tell right away who he was but felt a little weird that he hits on Sonny’s Mom. His storyline could have played out a bit better. Dubey as Mrs. Kapoor is still as rigid as ever – for a while anyway.
Pickup as Norman is usually the ladies man so it was nice to see him become a little disarmed by his own feelings. Hardcastle as Carol goes all out bananas and I was a bit surprised by her. Greig as Lavinia doesn’t have a huge role but she does get some decent laughs.
Imrie as Madge goes through her own changes being the female version of Norman. She plays the field until the field plays her!
Other cast include: Denzil Smith as Mr. Dharuna, Poppy Miller as Jodi, Shazad Latif as Kushal, Avijit Dutt as Nimish, Fiona Mollison as Susan and David Strathairn as Ty Burley.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL four tubs of popcorn out of five. Yep, I am a sucker for a script that could have gone horribly wrong but instead went absolutely right. I have no problem with anything having another installment as long as they don’t stray to far from what I loved about the original.
That’s what has happened here! They remained true to who the characters and each brought their A-game and a little more mixed in with human frailties and fears. There is certainly nothing wrong with getting a little older (she says gladly at 54) and these characters remind us to laugh a little more at ourselves, fear less and love a whole lot more, forgive and, most importantly, let nothing stop you from taking chances.
There is nothing about this cast that I don’t adore but I feel the need to give an extra shout out wrapped with a hug to Dame Maggie Smith. I don’t know what it is about this actress that I have adored since I can remember and continue to adore. She has a way about delivering a line that just kills me. From THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODY in 1969 to the 1978 film CALIFORNIA SUITE and Professor McGonagall of HARRY POTTER fame, up to DOWNTON ABBEY and her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham. No one throws shade like the Dowager! Yes, she deserves every accolade I can conjure.
That being said, it is a wonderful story done is the most amazing surroundings with a little bit of Bollywood thrown in for good measure. How can anyone not love that in a film?
In the end – it’s a roll call like no other!