Friday, 24 February 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel review (The List, Issue 693)

(12A) 118min

Early in this by-the-numbers comedy drama, a young salesperson eagerly enthuses to retiring couple Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) that 'the grey pound is very strong at the moment'. We’re quite clearly supposed to see this whippersnapper as insensitive and opportunistic, but his position seems plainly analogous to that of the producers of this film, who have clearly decided there is an audience of a certain age ready and waiting for ‘Love Actually for the over-60s … but in India!’ They’re undoubtedly correct, and they don’t hurt their chances of satisfying that audience by casting an irresistible army of pension-age talent including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson, all on excellent form. But the story, about a group of unconnected British retirees who come to the titular hotel in Jaipur and find resolution for their various issues and challenges, feels too calculated to offer anything more than disposable entertainment at best, and cheaply manipulative emotional kicks at worst. Actors this good can invest even this trite material with credibility, but they deserve better.

This review first published at The List's Film website.


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