Director John Madden had the wonderful characters from the initial The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel played by the same world-class cast with the delicious additions of Richard Gere and David Strathairn…even one of the same writers, Ol Parker.
So, what was the problem with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?
I can only surmise it was the exclusion of the other writer from the first film, Deborah Moggach, who, probably, added the uplifting spirit of the first film.
This effort is a downer with the focus on the young hotelier played, erratically, by Dev Patel. Instead of endearing, as he had been, the character is annoying and, despite the Bollywood ending, leaves one feeling he will, eventually, divorce and become a Hindi Donald Trump.
The saving grace is that this is a multi-character film and the other stories are played against the negative spirit inflicted by the writer. That’s what real talent can do.
I give The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel a 3 out of 5, but feel cheated out of what it should have been.