‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ struggles to find the sparkle of the first.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continues to tell the story of a hotel in India that only has a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for two fresh arrivals – Sonny pursues his expansionist dream of opening a second hotel.

I walked into the cinema possibly being the only person under the age of 60, but that isn’t a bad thing. I just have an appreciation and respect for the talent of the cast in the film (especially that of Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, because after all these years, they’re still going strong in their acting careers. Also, I think I still prefer Bill Nighy as a vampire like in Underworld).

The film takes the creme of the crop of the British actors and gives them the challenges in relation to their ageing, whether it be in cynicism about life (Smith) or late-in-life romance (Dench). However, the film is all about seizing the moment, especially with those of an older age whose time is a limited resource.

In between each characters search for love, including newcomer to the films Richard Gere, his character is the “covert” inspector for financing the second hotel in the emerging Marigold chain. Gere’s character in Guy is no exception to the quest for love as he soon falls in love with the owner of the hotel’s mother, thus jeopardising his position in reviewing the hotel for a potential investment.

This all in mind, I was still a little disappointed despite a few funny jokes here and there (and an annoying one at the beginning of the film where Maggie Smith’s clearly English accent is muddled for an Australian one. Is it really that hard to tell the difference between our two countries?). The only possible good thing was certain members of the cast. And that the film was something you didn’t really have to think about.

Dev Patel’s Sonny is a little annoying and overacted. His outlandish speeches, jealousy, and wild actions do little to help the light romance the film should be.

FIlm-O-Meter: 6/10.

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