A silver fox for a silver crowd: Richard Gere is the magic card up the filmmakers’ sleeve for this warm if rambling sequel to the 2011 hit ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.
Novelist Deborah Moggach only ever wrote one book about a ramshackle Indian hotel that attracts British retirees. So it’s down to writer-director team Ol Parker and John Madden to continue the tale, bringing back most of the cast – with added Gere as an American tourist suspected of being a hotel inspector. The Jaipur guesthouse continues to be run by chaotic, eccentric Sonny (Dev Patel), and most of his British residents have moved east to enjoy late-life careers as a hotel manager (Maggie Smith), cloth buyer (Judi Dench), tourist guide (Bill Nighy) or similar.
The gentle plot turns on Sonny’s desire to buy a second hotel, his wedding and the various characters’ romances. It’s a baggy affair, built around too many characters and stories to feel fully focused. 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.