The 2nd Best Marigold Hotel

May, 2015, Comedy

 

The Second Best Marigold Hotel

 Have you ever discovered a restaurant, enjoyed a meal you found delicious then discovered it wasn’t quite as exceptional when you returned and had the same items on the menu? All the ingredients are there, but somehow, the chef must have been a little bit off…. Froth is awfully difficult to duplicate, whether it be gastronomic or cinematic as this overlong return to sunlit India demonstrates. All the old faces are there (literally and figuratively): Maggie Smith, Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, etc. along with the boyish Dev Patel and a pair of distinguished new faces – David Strathairn & Richard Gere. But a sub-part script mars this sequel to one of 2011’s surprising hits, which lacks the freshness of the original.

 Marigold 2 is really a romanticized examination of the mating habits of 1st world “senior citizens”, albeit those from English-speaking countries only; thanks to its seasoned cast of British thespians, the movie’s more enjoyable than it has any right to be despite lacking the snap and crackle of its predecessor’s dialogue.

 Director John Madden, (Shakespeare In Love) directed both of these films, both from scripts written by Ol Parker, an English writer/director whose storyline here scrambles a number of dance scenes featuring Patel and his fiancé with the on-again, off-again romances of the movies’ principal leads. The results bear comparison to watching a large piñata being smacked open when you know in advance the composition of the contents; audiences should be forgiven for humming Peggy Lee’s old song “Is that all there is?”

 Marigold 2 isn’t without some small pleasures; Patel’s flashing ability on the dance floor resembles the early work of John Travolta, the 80-ish Judy Dench still radiates a quiet, mesmerizing persona and Gere’s an impossibly handsome man about to celebrate his 67th birthday…but these flashes of interest lie buried beneath a storyline and script which become so annoyingly predictable the film runs out of energy well before the end of its 124 minute running time. That’s only 2 minutes longer than its predecessor, but it seem like an eternity.

The Verdict? A sequel self-consciously geared to a geriatric audience thrilled by the film’s assertion that freewheeling sexuality isn’t necessarily confined to those under 40.

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