The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

The first film, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, saw a a cast of British greats overcome personal issues through a cultural clash in India. This sequel tries to retain some cultural clash, even though they all live there now. It’s a charming film, but when the first film’s greatest problem was its predictability and shallowness, it’s hardly like a near-identical sequel can improve upon that (especially when the greatest subplot from the first film is sadly terminated).

Just like the first film, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The British cast is great as ever, and Dev Patel excels after he’s given more to do in this one – his comic timing as the overzealous Sonny really is quite amusing at times. His overlong subplot? Less so.

India is picturesque as ever, and we see a lot more of it in this instalment. I particularly liked seeing more of the city, and the dance sequences. The film’s languid pace ensures there’s never much tension, for better or worse, so there’s plenty of time to admire India. Many of the characters in the film admire Richard Gere, a first-timer for the “franchise”, but his subplot is a bit of a dead-end and he doesn’t seem to have as much fun with the film as the regulars.

I said the film film completely lacked any unpredictable or unique element, but I can’t say the same for this one, as it ends on a bizarre and dark monologue that left me and those I saw the film with scratching our heads. A vaguely chilling rumination on death, ending with an ambiguous statement as to whether the character is right about to die or not, is most definitely not how I expected the final scene to go.

I give it two cups of lukewarm tea, and an ominous closing monologue.


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