Movie Review: An unremarkable return to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Movie Review: An unremarkable return to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Kerr Street Cafe
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About the Author

Nicholas Olsen

Nicholas Olsen

Nicholas Olsen is a journalism graduate from Sheridan College. He specializes in Arts & Entertainment reporting, feature writing and film reviews. Twitter: @ChiefcoOne

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“There’s no present like the time.”

Bits and pieces of half-baked philosophy akin to what’s above are scattered throughout The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

A most unnecessary sequel, director John Madden and writer Ol Parker return with this drudging, overlong romantic comedy for the excessively sentimental and easily amused.

Most of the senior cast has returned. Evelyn (Judy Dench) is now a freelance businesswoman working in textiles, picking and choosing fabrics from Indian street vendors for her employers. The cool, stern Douglas (Bill Nighy) is back and has his heart set on marrying an ambivalent Evelyn.

Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) — the young entrepreneur with dreams of grandeur —runs into trouble while trying to expand his hotel after a handsome family friend, Kushal, returns to Jaipur and competes for local property and his fiancée, Sunaina (Tena Desae). Norman (Ronald Pickup) is back as the grey haired, expertly dressed charmer who is having second thoughts about his relationship with Carol (Diana Hardcastle).

Photo Credit: Fox Seachlight Pictures

Photo Credit: Fox Seachlight Pictures

It’s hard to keep track and stay interested in this ensemble of retirees. They loft around their crumbling palace and settle in, speaking of what it’s like to jump ship and retire in a foreign country — scowling and breathing fire when a poor waiter doesn’t get their cup of chai to a perfect boil.

Richard Gere is the only saving grace as Marigold’s newest guest, Guy Chambers, a soul-searching author who Sonny believes is a hotel inspector in disguise. Gere has remarkable screen presence and breathes life into the film.

The Bollywood flavored song and dance finds a place in the picture, mixing the vibrancy of Indian culture with classic Hollywood storytelling. Patel’s dance moves are thankfully better than his tiresome one-liners and exasperated personality.

Much is happening on screen, and it’s a wonder how the seasoned cast members couldn’t avoid turning in a safe and dreadfully stagnated rom-com void of any substantial feeling or pizazz. Even the remarkable backdrop — India in all its colourful, cultured beauty — couldn’t leave a lasting impression.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened last night and is showing locally at Film.ca.

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