Movie Review - The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Dev Patel stars as Sonny Kapoor, the manager of the hotel who leads the charge to expand. He's native to India. He's highly energetic and enthusiastic. He's fast-talking and constantly trying to sell the good things about the hotel. Aside from trying to impress the inspector, Sonny is also in preparation for his upcoming wedding. The film is in fact structured around Sonny's pending nuptials.
Writer Ol Parker adds the complication that a rival of Sonny is the one choreographing the wedding dance. That choreographer is named Kushal, and Sonny doesn't like Kushal, played by Shazad Latif. Sonny especially doesn't like Kushal putting his hands all over Sonny's future wife and it bothers Sonny that Kushal also hones in on Sonny's property deal.
When it comes to the residents of the hotel, Parker doesn't really have anything for them to do. They're glorified window dressing. They exist to observe Sonny's plot and pad time between lulls of Sonny running around being comical and stupid.
Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench are the two prominent female characters who are part of the old white residents, but this movie is a waste of both their times. The film suggests that Smith's character Muriel Donnelly might be dying but it wastes what could have been a compelling dramatic arc. The film gives Dench's character Evelyn Greenslade a bit of a storyline. She's offered a job that would have her leave the hotel, but she's having an unspoken and un-acted love affair with Douglas Ainslie, played by Bill Nighy, who awkwardly can't tell her how he feels.
The rest of the white cast is so inconsequential. Parker tries to give them stuff to do, but it ends up only being ridiculous and forgettable. What Parker doesn't want to be forgettable but still is ridiculous is the presence of Richard Gere who plays Guy Chambers. Guy is a novelist who visits the hotel who falls for Sonny's mom. Sonny thinks he's the inspector, so he tries to push them together. Yet, either the writing or John Madden's directing makes it so clunky as not to work at all. I wasn't a fan of the previous film, which I wrote a review, but this one is even worse.
One Star out of Five.
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 2 mins.