The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is directed by John Madden who returns to the chair for this sequel to the original film that came out in 2011. He has a hell of a track record that goes back to Shakespeare in Love (1998). This film revolves around the upcoming wedding of Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) as the familiar gang of elderly residents continue their will they, won’t they get together story lines.
The plot of the film (such as it is) exists only to service a group of well loved British actors so they can tell one joke after another about dying or bits of the body not working as well as they used to. It’s a film about second or third chances at finding happiness in advancing years. It does this quite well in a couple of scenes but there isn’t a single plot twist you don’t see coming from a mile away. Initially I was terrified that I as going to be in for a couple of hours or toe curling cinema as the very first joke was the never before heard American mistaking an English accent for Australian. Dear God noooooooooo!
Fortunately that joke is not typical of the rest of the film although I probably only laughed four times which given the number of jokes that the writer has crammed into the script, this is hardly a high hit rate. While Mr Patel brought plenty of energy to the screen there were two clear occasions when I wanted to punch his character in the face. This was predominantly related to the arrival of a Guy Chambers character (Richard Gere) who he comes convinced is a hotel inspector. He therefore proceeds to treat the other guests appallingly to focus on him.
I saw the film late on a Friday afternoon and was the second youngest member of the audience – my wife won first place in that race. It was fair to say that this film is attracting the more mature audience and there was plenty of laughter coming from over my shoulder. The movie is clearly playing well to its target audience.
In summary my experience of the film was that it missed the mark more times than it hit but I didn’t dislike it. It’s a perfectly decent film that appeared to be working well for its intended audience. My rating a slightly begrudging 3/5.