Movie Review: ‘THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL’ – A Perfectly Affable Comedy


Cole Clay // Film Critic

Director: John Madden
Cast: Every Working Senior Actor In Hollywood

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is completely harmless on every level. It’s the kind of film that you watch with your 4 p.m. tea and biscuits (those are cookies for all you folks who don’t watch the BBC). It’s a more lighthearted version of its predecessor, and for all intents and purposes, the movie is nothing more than an adorable chance to get reacquainted with the geriatric occupants of the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

Picking up after the so-called “events” of the first film– we see the idealistic Sonny (Dev Patel) and the old crank Muiel (Maggie Smith) cruising down Route 66 with plans to open up a second hotel. As Sonny tries to expand his life professionally and personally with an upcoming marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai), he becomes completely overwhelmed in the most cuddly way possible. The young couple prepare for their impending nuptials, while the retirees run a muck trying to figure out who’s snogging who.

All the bags of bones are back in the saddle, including Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, (aforementioned) Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie. And who can forget the addition of everybody’s second favorite silver fox, Richard Gere (PRETTY WOMAN). This is nothing more than a delightful movie with decadent scenery that encapsulates the culture in the most gentle way imaginable.

Director John Madden (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) is back as well working from Ol Parker’s (IMAGINE ME & YOU) chippy screenplay. This is a light-hearted film for adults who want to check into and alternate form of reality where assimilating into a foreign country is as easy as a weekly prostate exam.

THE SECOND BEST doesn’t transcend any filmmaking strangleholds, nor does it attempt to, but all the old folks jokes aside, there is so much love and charm to take away from this comedy. Madden and his expert collection of stars create an atmosphere that may not be completely accurate to the region, but it’s easy on the eyes and makes India a desirable place for a retreat.


About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.