Roughly midway through “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a lovesick Bill Nighy notes that Judi Dench’s character has “checked out,” referring of course to her status at the hotel.
The imminence of death serves as a source of both comedy and poignant self-reflection in this spirited sequel to the unexpected 2012 success, assembled hastily enough that none of its ensemble had a chance to “check out” before they could all cash in, hoping to duplicate the original’s $46 million haul (nearly twice as much abroad).
If the first “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” was all about seeking rest and relaxation half a world away in India, then its relatively hectic successor finds the entire ensemble hustling jobs in Jaipur: Douglas (Nighy) gives tours of sites about which he knows precious little; Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) tend bar at the expats’ club; Evelyn (Dench) hunts for exotic fabrics; and Muriel (Maggie Smith) co-manages the establishment, which has been such a success that its ambitious — and newly engaged — owner, Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), is looking to expand.
We will fix the issue in 2 days; in the mean time, we ask for your understanding and you can find other backup links on the website to watch those. Thrilled, excited, happy - and scared to death - Sonny must now face the pressures of living up to her dreams to prove to herself, and the world, that she is up to the challenge.
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All this busyness is good for business, though it makes for a rather high-stress retirement, as no one seems to be taking advantage of the fact they made the move to escape the grind.
Though his original hotel is still something of a shambles, Sonny has ambitions to buy a neighboring property and fix it up, too, but for that he’ll need the financial backing of Evergreen, a U.S.-based retirement company managed by a visionary investor (David Strathairn) whose philosophy, “Leaves don’t need to fall,” may as well be the mantra of all the hotel’s overworked residents.Deferred retirements aside, they’ve never been happier — which is a curious place to begin for a film that must then manufacture inconsequential misunderstandings and easily resolved conflicts in order to justify another two hours spent in the company of its generally affable ensemble.Apparently, he is her date for the night and will give her some plum advice on how to make it in the industry. â€œIt made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music,â€ the 18-year-old starlet revealed.Even Smith, so wickedly pungent in our memories, seems to have warmed this time around: Nineteen days older than Dench both onscreen and in real life, she’s the character we can’t bear to live without — a fact that director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker (both back from the original) clearly calculated when shifting the narration duties over from Dench to Smith.