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Movie Review

'Second Best' Nearly As Good As The First


The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, like most sequels, may not be quite as good as its original, but it's not far from it, a warm little character comedy that looks as if it was made by people who like people, and that's a rare quality these days.

The ensemble cast is much the same as in number one, and there are half a dozen love stories plus the question of Dev Patel's determination to buy another hotel. Obviously, the Marigold Hotel is doing well under Patel and Maggie Smith's management.

There's a lot more local color, with street scenes of India, exteriors of buildings and natural scenery, with interiors of lavish public places but still no real interest in the culture of India on the part of either characters or moviemakers. But there's a good deal of music and dancing, and the screen is drenched in beautiful colors. There is no middle or lower class in the Marigold world.

The stories mostly concern affairs of the hear, especially Patel's scheduled wedding, and that characters are lightly but vividly portrayed by an all-star cast of a certain age, with little concern over credibility or satire or the cares of the real world. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is pure fun and escapism, with just a touch of nonromanticism involving Maggie Smith, and an unusual bit of subplot about Bill Nighy trying to give a speech, but no attempts at serious drama.

I don't know when I've seen a more enjoyably relaxing movie.