If you liked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, there’s more of the same for you here. Indeed, The Second Best Exotic Marigold is the very definition of an unnecessary sequel, and its title tells you the truth straight up. It’s the second best.
Happy to bring back the characters from the first one (who survived), the film barely bothers with plot. Instead, it creates a wee batch of usually romantic dilemmas in order to keep our beloved older English thesps bouncing around a batch of unbelievably beautiful Indian locations. Warning: do not go to India expecting it to look like it does here. There are not burning candles around every corner.
Richard Gere is thrown into the mix (eliciting mini-orgasms from some of the Grand Dames of the English Theatre) as a silver fox looking to write his first novel, and possibly for love. Indeed, he falls for someone so hard, so quickly that you’re surprised they didn’t whack a booooiiiiinnnnggg! on the soundtrack. His speech in the middle of the film, to the object of his affections, is a deeply terrible piece of writing, but Gere gets through it, I’m sure with his paycheque in mind. (He gets through the de rigueur Indian dance number at the end, too, looking truly young amongst the British Senior Acting Luvvies).
Look, they’re all doing it for the paycheque, or perhaps for a passage to India, and to hang out and talk about when Gielgud farted in the fourth act of Lear. It’s a crass cash-in, but these old thespians are charming as hell, and the movie coasts breezily by on that alone, which is just enough.