Okay Hollywood, you did it. You made me like Dev Patel as an actor. Bra-vo. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It could have fallen flat but it didn’t and the results is a movie worth owning.
What worked in this movie:
-Dev. I didn’t like him in Slumdog Millionaire and his career went downhill from there. I mean really, Avatar? I thought I would go my entire life thinking he was nothing but a stereotype actor that did an okay job with a movie that got way more praise than it deserved and would never be good enough to be worth any job he landed. So I was very biased going into this movie. Oh look, I thought, he is playing a cultural stereotype because he failed when he tried other roles. But good golly did I like him this time. He was funny but not in a laughing at him kind of way. He had appropriate depth in his emotions. And he was believable and enjoyable to watch. Dev was deserving of the lead role and did the person who made that casting call proud.
-The large cast. Movies with multiple plot lines and lots of characters can sometimes fall flat or some storylines will fail and pull the successful ones down. That didn’t happen. I liked all the stories, they really gave the movie roots and allowed for comedy alongside surprise depth.
-Some of the lines. I think my favorite line was, “There’s no present like the time.” This movie has a few gems that really touched me in a way that would make a less superhuman person cry.
-The dancing. They didn’t really break out into dance for no reason. It had justification. And I just love a well choreographed Bollywood routine.
What didn’t work for me.
-Richard Gere. The man was a lifeless board. I didn’t believe him one bit. Wasn’t he supposed to be a sex symbol in his day? He couldn’t pay a ladybird to let him successfully charm them into bed with the skills he displayed. He was boring and stiff. I was disappointed.
-The name. Raise your hand if you thought this movie was probably going to be about competition between the hero hotel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the bad guy hotel, The First Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Spoilers!
It isn’t. Maybe they should have tested that out before committing to the name.
The refusal to commit to actually killing off Maggie Smith. They flirted with it. They hinted at it. They gave us at least one scare. But in the end the lady was still kicking. It felt like an unfulfilled moment. They gave a smoking gun of a doctor’s scene and then failed to pull the trigger when the time came.
Verdict: The movie worked, the acting mostly worked, and the plot was just delightful. Great for a mixed-age group. Not just for old people.