The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The ticket taker told me that this movie functions as a Marvel action film for senior citizens.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelThough far from a great movie, director John Madden’s Marigold sequel avoids being condemned to the graveyard being inhabited by many similar films.  Powered by the talents of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, it succeeds where regrettable films like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015) and Taken 3 to infinity have failed.

While most of the original cast members returned, the film truly misses Tom Wilkinson, who died on screen in the original movie.  He provided the story with some meaningful heart and soul, and the sequel wasn’t able to find a way to replace him.

Additionally, the movie’s biggest drawback is that it reduces Dev Patel’s role to a level that proves to be irritating beyond words.  He is an extraordinarily fine actor, as he displayed years ago in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008).  However, in this sequel he has been transformed into little more than a whiny, sniveling eccentric, and even his heartwarming performance at the conclusion of the film fails to save him.

The loose plot centers on Mr. Patel’s attempt to buy a second hotel which defines the title of this movie.  However, I must admit that the film proved to be rather enjoyable because of both its magnificent scenery (much of which is filmed on location in India) and its concentration on finding meaning in life as you reach your “golden years”.  Though Richard Gere’s appearance is little more than serving as eye candy for middle age women, he surprisingly adds a bit of spark that helps the film succeed.

As you watch actors who are over the age of 70, you are reminded that aging gracefully requires seeking out adventure where you never quit on experimenting with available activities.  As someone on the downside of life’s Bell Curve, I understand that life means going down fighting to the very end.

As the legendary comedian Carl Reiner recently said, “Every morning I grab the newspaper and read the obituaries.  If I’m not in it, I make myself some breakfast.”  Smart advice.