Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [2015]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [2015] (directed by John Madden screenplay by Ol Parker) is, like most sequels, perhaps "not as good" as the first film [2011] and the CNS/USCCB reviewer John Mulderig is right that there are some morally troubling aspects to the film -- the Seniors portrayed in this film are a randy bunch, a fair number of the characters seemingly spending most of their "golden years" "hopping from bed to bed."  I know that, as in the case of most romcoms, there's a Beach Boys' "Wouldn't it be nice?" quality to this.   However, it does get kinda silly and the PG rating for the film should be at minimum PG-13.

That said, those readers who enjoyed the first film [2011] will probably enjoy this one as the entire cast of the first film minus Tom Wilkinson (whose character died at the end of the first film) are back plus with the addition of a new character played by Richard Gere.

The film begins with ever wide-eyed, ever enthusiastic Best Exotic Marigold Hotel entrepreneur / proprietor Sonny Kapuur (played by Dev Patel) and one of his original tenants, the once (and if one's honest about it, still) quite dour Muriel Donnelly (played magnificently by Maggie Smith), who despite her initial fears and even racism came to (finally) blossom out there in India (after 40 years of working as a domestic servant back in England), and who Sonny _came to hire_ as his assistant manager of the hotel, meeting with a couple of potential American investors in hopes that they would finance an expansion to the said "Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

The meeting, in San Diego (giving the characters, one young, wide-eyed energetic/sincere Indian the other "old-school" English, a chance to be shown as quite different "fish," but still "out of water")  goes well but there will still be "a need to inspect operations at the existing hotel."

That then sets up the rest of the story.  When silver haired American Guy Chambers (played by Richard Gere) shows up at the door of the (original) hotel, well Sonny IMMEDIATELY ASSUMES that this is "the secret inspector" he was expecting and we, the viewers, are left, of course, cringing for him because it's SO OBVIOUS that he could be wrong.

In the meantime, one almost needs "a score card" to keep track of who's got a crush on whom, who's going out with whom and who's sleeping with whom.  But I suppose, if one takes this in the above mentioned "day-dreamy", "wouldn't it be nice?" sort of a way, it is kinda fun to watch.

Western viewers are also treated to a lovely Indian or at least Bollywood wedding between Sonny and his fiancee Suianna (played by Tina Desai) and it is IMHO truly a LOVELY AND HAPPY SIGHT TO BEHOLD.  Honestly, any Westerner bringing home an Indian fiance/e could honestly refer his/her older relatives to this movie, and I'm positive it would melt them.

In that regard -- of promoting a "better understanding between peoples" -- it's hard to imagine (at least on the Western side) a better film than this.

Good job!

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1 comment:

  1. I found the sequel a bit less nicer than the prequel.