Though enjoyable and lively, this sequel falls short of the first
Heart-racing, haphazard driving; richly colorful textiles; crowded, bustling marketplaces and beautiful, elaborate costumes make watching "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" feel like going on a two-hour, jam-packed trip to India. Though the film has a predictable plot-line, the setting and the visual aspects of the sequel, as wells a few downright hilarious lines, make up for it.
Though the majority of the movie is set in Jaipur, India, it doesn't start out there. Surprisingly enough, the opening scene is in California, where old-fashioned, no-nonsense Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) and scatterbrained, overenthusiastic Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) are trying to secure a deal that would allow them to finance and open up a second hotel. The eighty-year-old guest-turned-co-owner Muriel and the young, ambitious Sonny want to continue to carry out the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's mission to provide comfort and new beginnings to "the elderly and beautiful" in a second location, a story line which lays down the framework for the rest of the film. The movie is generally about getting old and facing death, but there's plenty to entertain young viewers as well. The structure of the "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is based upon a younger generation, as it is broken up into three acts entitled "The Engagement Party," "The Family Party" and "The Wedding" which follow Sonny's tumultuous, comical and at times cringe-worthy wedding preparations with his fiancée Sunaina (Tina Desai).
While Sonny and Sunaina fall in and out amidst family drama and premarital spats, other couples, who are primarily guests of the hotel, are having their own triumphs and trials. This second movie is heavy on romantic relationships, which run the risk of taking away from film's other themes of appreciating life and finding new beginnings. However, the impressive acting from well-known British stars makes it enjoyable to watch the relationships unfold. Bill Nighy plays Douglas Ainslie, who, in the first movie, realizes that he has feelings for Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench). This in part results in the end of his marriage with Jean Ainslie (Penelope Wilton) who also makes an appearance in this sequel. Douglas and Evelyn's awkward and endearing relationship is one of the many explored further in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
Sequels are notoriously more disappointing than their counterparts, and "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" doesn't escape this fate. However, it's still visually astounding, impeccably-acted, sporadically hysterical and poignantly heartwarming. The slightly faulty plotline doesn't make it bad and in fact it doesn't even make it less than good. It just makes it second best.
"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is rated PG for some language and suggestive comments and is now playing at theaters everywhere.
Eleanor Linafelt. Hi there! I'm Eleanor, one of the Editors-in-Chief for SCO this year. I love reading books, playing cello and electric bass, and surfing and swimming at the beach. I am also an Emily Dickinson fanatic. More »