The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (IMDB) is, of course, a sequel to the 2012 hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And the title seems appropriate: compared to the original this is definitely “second best.”
Still it’s not too bad. It has an extremely talented cast and if you enjoyed the original there’s a pretty good chance that you will enjoy the sequel, though maybe not quite as much. It just doesn’t have the same level of energy and originality as the first movie.
The story picks up a few months after the first movie. Sonny (Dev Patel) and Sunaina (Tina Desai) are planning their wedding, but Sonny seems to only have time for his business plans. The hotel has become such a success as a makeshift retirement community that it is full up, and Sonny has decided to expand by buying a vacant hotel and fixing it up. But he needs a financial backer, so he and Muriel (Maggie Smith) fly off to America, hoping to affiliate with an American chain.
The American executives seem interested, but they warn him that they will send an anonymous “hotel inspector” to check the place out.
Soon two new guests show up at the hotel. Lavinia (Tamsin Greig) is a middle-aged woman who wants to check the place out on her mother’s behalf. Guy (Richard Gere) is a handsome would-be novelist. For no good reason Sonny decides that Guy is the hotel inspector and start fawning all over him while ignoring Lavinia. And the misunderstandings cascade from there.
Meanwhile most of the characters from the first movie are back with various romantic or career problems. And Sonny is jealous of Sunaina’s ridiculously good-looking and successful friend Kushal (Shazad Latif). Will Sonny be able to pull off his business deal without losing his lovely fiancee? As with the first movie, there are no great surprises here.