John Madden's The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel offers just as much joy, heart and chuckles as its hugely successful predecessor.
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Luckily, there are just enough truths about ageing beneath its corny, farcical surface. Also, it’s hard not to enjoy two hours in the company of this cast.
Like its predecessor, the film is a charming example of what great actors can do with mediocre material.
Where the first film kept insisting that drama and liveliness need not disappear in the golden years, its sequel feels almost like a rebuttal. Hopefully everyone involved will find something better to do before this unexpected franchise opens up a third location.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a sluggish also-ran compared to its predecessor.
It’s not so common to find an ensemble of this caliber so enthusiastic to work together, and that chemistry comes across.
The senior set deserves a few crumpets with their tea, and Part Two, which takes up where the original left off, aims to satisfy.
We all know Smith can deliver barbs like blow-darts, but Parker’s screenplay gives her a too-rare chance to do something more – and when she delivers a bittersweet, profound monologue towards the end of the film, it feels like you’re watching a classic Ferrari reach the end of an average speed check zone and whistle off into the distance.
In the end, listing this sequel’s flaws and charms is a loser’s game, and I throw up my hands: I just had fun, maybe mostly because watching these actors brings me so much joy. There’s nothing second best about that, or about them.