Following my review of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, here comes the second instalment.
On screen, only 8 months have passed since we last saw our retired guests (strange how their hair greyed so quickly in 8 months, must be the Indian sun…) and things at the hotel are going well. So good in fact, that Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) are in the US seeking out a company willing to help them expand their dream (hotels for old people everywhere!).
Back in Jaipur, everyone is busier than ever. Evelyn (Judi Dench) has moved on from her last job and is now outsourcing fabrics for a small start-up; Douglas (Bill Nighy) is a (terrible) tour guide with a sneaky secret; Suneina (Tena Desae) is preparing her wedding and helping out Muriel while Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) have both started working for the Viceroy Club.
Back from their trip, Sonny and Muriel are happy to see new guests arrive at the hotel. However, Sonny suspects Guy Chambers (Richard Gere, who seemingly barely aged a day) of being there in order to check out the hotel for the American firm. Giving him preferential treatment, he completely forgets about Lavinia (Tamsin Greig), who’s there to scope out the hotel for her mother.
Things aren’t going as smoothly as they seem as Sonny starts getting jealous of Suneina’s old friend Kushal (Shazad Latif) and starts pimping out his mother (Lillete Dubey) to Guy. Evelyn and Douglas still haven’t moved forward with their attraction, while Madge has two suitors chasing her, and trouble might be brewing between Norman and Carol.
Less refreshing than the first one, this movie is nonetheless consistent with the paths the characters were heading for at the end of the last film. Their lives are more established, and it’s good to see all of them working to afford their keep as poverty in retirement is becoming an increasingly difficult problem in today’s society.
Sprinkled with Bollywood dust (the Indian wedding), the movie is a satisfying end to a story that was left wide open. Though I hope they won’t try to make a third one, because that might be a wrong move.
Pictures from: cineworld.co.uk, bp.blogspot.com, filmreviewonline.com, contactmusic.com, radiotimes.com