Film Review: Charming ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Bucks Botched Sequel Trend

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CHICAGO – Motivated by financial necessity, sequels often mitigate business risk and satisfy studio executives by riding on the coattails of a previous fan base with brand equity. But business aside, to moviegoers the follow-up product so often feels like it “wasn’t nearly as good as the first” or didn’t need to return at all.

Rarely do we find films that are an exception to this unfortunate rule, but when we do, they are celebrated for doing twice what many films can’t even do once. And so is the recent case with the naturally charming “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. While the story didn’t need to continue and could have ended in May 2012 – when Fox Searchlight’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” won over audiences worldwide – mostly the same usual suspects have returned to inspire you to laugh, think, feel and escape all over again.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The first film was a commercial success – having earned $137 million on a $10 million product budget – but the second actually feels like it was motivated by more than just money. There actually is a new story to tell and the cast feels like they want to be there – and not just for yet another paycheck for many grey-haired actors who don’t need the money.

Perhaps even more impressive, the second film drops down to a “PG” rating from a “PG-13” rating in 2012 without losing any of its appeal. Here is a film that doesn’t need sex, foul language and violence to transport audiences to a world they will love not only once but twice.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.

Director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love,” “The Debt”) and writer Ol Parker (who hasn’t written anything else you’d know except for the 2012 film) team up on the second film once again with the all-star cast Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire,” 2015’s “Chappie”), Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Celia Imrie.

The film epitomizes the definition of charming even down to its unpretentious title. Carrying forward its brand loyalty, the title is honest to a fault and tells you exactly what to expect. And audiences are already awarding the film with what it deserves. So far, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has grossed nearly $30 million worldwide and it earned a No. 3 weekend rank with distribution to only 1,573 theaters. The non-mainstream film was only bested this weekend by the larger-scale films “Focus” and “Chappie,” which were both released into twice as many theaters.

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” stars Dev Patel, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, David Strathairn, Celia Imrie, Shazad Latif and Tina Desai from director John Madden and writer Ol Parker. The film, which has a running time of 122 minutes and opened on March 6, 2015, is rated “PG” for some language and suggestive comments.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.

Dev Patel and Tina Desai in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Dev Patel (left) and Tina Desai in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.
Image credit: Fox Searchlight

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.

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