Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

| By Mary Naylor

As with the original it’s the character performances that really carry The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel through. After a strong and humorous start the storylines are quickly set up and there it loses its shuffling gait.

The film is structured around Sonny (Dev Patel) and Sunaina’s (Tina Desai) upcoming wedding, which punctuates the other stories with various engagement parties and an interesting but neglected plot point where Sonny attempts to expand his hotel empire.

Sonny’s mogul dreams are quickly interrupted by a handsome speed bump and the storyline is almost left behind.

The rest of the arcs rise and fall in condescendingly obvious ways, unfortunately only one story packs any emotional punch. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is enjoyable light entertainment in its own way but it quickly seems to ditch comedy in favour of more emotional narratives. This leaves the film in an awkward rut with all of the plot lines circling a drain. 

A large proportion of the Marigold revolves around Richard Gere’s new character, Guy Chambers, who Sonny fawns over embarrassingly and to increasingly fewer laughs. What starts off as funny quickly becomes a stereotype and this is true of much of the film.

This sequel should be the sequel of Judi Dench's Evelyn and Douglas (Bill Nighy), who found each other in India, prompting Nighy to be ditched (amicably) by his wife (Penelope Wilton). The pair were shy and sweet and refreshing.

But their romance shuffles along in the most excruciating manner leaving you to eye roll your way through their scenes lest you scream at them. Marigold is not an unenjoyable film, it is a fine diversion from everyday humdrum but it is not the ensemble caper it could be. 

The entertainment on offer by Marigold is of the lite variety and jokes are more often of the chuckle inducing variety, as opposed to the much-needed belly laugh kind.

The tale is rarely as heart-warming as the first Marigold and the final scene leaves a melancholy taste prompting an existential crisis more than anything else. 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is now showing at AMC Manchester, The Printworks Odeon, Didsbury Cineworld and Vue Manchester Lowry.

Image courtesy of MovieClips Trailers, via YouTube, with thanks.