After having successfully turned the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel into a successful venture, Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) travel to the United States, hoping to find an investor to fund the expansion of the hotel. The potential investors inform Sonny and Muriel that they will send someone to check out their operation before deciding whether to back them.
The group who moved to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are acclimating to their new lives. Evelyn (Judi Dench) makes daily trips to the market to haggle with the local merchants to buy fabric for her clients. Douglas (Bill Nighy) continues to try to woo Evelyn. Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) run a restaurant that is barely keeping its head above water.
Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) and Lavinia Beech (Tamsin Greig) show up at the hotel at the same time. Sonny is convinced Guy is the inspector sent to check out the hotel and gives him the royal treatment, completely ignoring Lavinia.
With his obsession with expanding the hotel, and his ongoing rivalry with Kushal (Shazad Latif), his fiancée, Sunaina’s (Tina Desai) is feeling neglected as Sonny barely participates in any of their wedding festivities. Things go downhill both personally and professionally for Sonny.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel picks up where The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel left off. The group of retirees are actually enjoying their new lives in India. Most have found love, to some extent, and they have found ways to fill their time.
The majority of the cast from the first film returns for this new installment. This makes for characters we already know and care about, as well as good chemistry. This go around, we add Richard Gere as a smooth lady’s man, who may or may not be there to check out the hotel. Tamsin Greig seems a bit out of place in the film. Part of this is due to the fact that she is much younger than the rest of the cast. Part due to her character. Fortunately for her, this is how she is supposed to come across in the film. Still, she seems an afterthought.
Much of the charm and humor from the first film carries over into this one. The characters are likeable, and we have a history with them. When we aren’t watching the older group on their exploits (such as Norman accidentally hiring a hit his girlfriend), we are treated to the magnificent spectacle that is an Indian wedding. The story, again, is a little predictable, but it works.
As with the original, this is sort of a seniors’ rom-com. Your parents will enjoy it. While not quite as good as the original, there is enough charm to keep it interesting for those of us who aren’t quite ready to pack it up and move to a retirement home on the other side of the world.