The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday July 23, 2015

Don't let the idea of a sequel discourage you; the cast of the 2012 sleeper hit returns for "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," and it's a bright, romantic comedy of Shakespearian proportions.

Two great dames of stage and screen, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, come together again with an all-star ensemble cast including the hilarious Dev Patel. This time around, they are joined by the romantic comedy favorite Richard Gere in a comedy about many loves -- some questioned, some discovered, some fulfilled and some forever a mystery.

The business that Muriel Donnelly (Smith) and Sonny Kapoor (Patel) created together has become such a success that and have decided to franchise, so they travel across the world to the United States to secure funding for a new venture. Hotel magnate Ty Burley (David Strathairn) likes the idea, but he won't make a final decision until a company inspector evaluates their services as an anonymous guest.

When an American businessman Guy Chambers (Gere) shows up without a reservation looking for a room, Sonny suspects that he has spotted the inspector, and a series of complications including mistaken identity and other misguided notions ensues.

Even though Sonny is distracted from planning his wedding, romance is in the air. Evelyn Greenslade (Dench) and Douglas Ainsli (Bill Nighy) hopelessly fall for each other; Madge Hardcastle (Carol Parr) attempts to choose between a few different proposals; and Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup) attempts to protect his girlfriend from a hit man he fears he may have accidentally hired.

Shot on location in Jaipur, India, this film is a feast for the eyes with spectacles that vary from car chases to lavish, almost Bollywood-like dance sequences.

Special features include a brief but interesting glimpses into the story, the cast, returning to the Marigold Hotel, the blossoming relationships, filming in India and the spectacular wedding sequence. All of these topics are shown to us through interviews with the cast, the writer Ol Parker and the director John Madden, as well as some of the designers and producers.

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Rated: PG | 123 minutes