I thought The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a complete hoot and even bought the DVD so I could watch it a few more times and share it with friends and family who hadn’t seen it at the theatre. I’m not usually big on “sequels” but for this I made an exception and I wasn’t disappointed.
Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) have made such a success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that they only have 1 vacancy left and the time has come to expand. So they look to America for an investor who wants to send an incognito inspector to give a report before saying, “yes”. We have the same group of retirees from Britain who are all now working part time and have regular visits to the clinic to make sure they’re in the best possible health, plus a roll call every morning to make sure none has “checked out” during the night. Evelyn Greenslade (played by Dame Judith Dench) is reluctant to make a commitment to Douglas (Bill Nighy) who is experiencing memory difficulties and conducts his tourism excursions with the help of an ear-piece and a young native lad with a bluetooth microphone and an Internet connection who feeds him his lines and tries to find answers to the questions posed by the tourists. Douglas is sometimes left high and dry when the boy nips out to play a bit of soccer with his chums. A welcome addition to the cast this time out is Richard Gere who generates a lot of interest among the ladies at the hotel but only has eyes for Sonny’s mother (Lillete Dubey). Another addition is the return of a suave, charming young man, Kushai (Shazad Latif), seen by Sonny as a threat to his impending marriage to Sunaina (Tena Desae).
For the most part, the movie is a fun romp with lots of the sights and sounds of Jaipur and the cultural/religious customs swirling around the forthcoming nuptials of Sonny and Sunaina. There are several mis-understandings in the romantic goings-on at the hotel but there was one (possibly more than one) rather sad note interjected in a somewhat subtle way that threw me for a bit of a loop. (Not going to spoil it for you; don’t let it stop you from going to see it.) All in all, a lot of fun, romance, some tension, a bit of Indian “Gap dancing”, and silliness, with a totally captivating cast. Do see it! * * * * *