Movies on TV Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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(2015) ★★½

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 22 January, 3.45pm and 8pm

Dev Patel’s refurbished dump in Jaipur is now quite the going concern. With settled-in Brit Maggie Smith helping to run the place, it’s become so successful that expansion is Dev’s big dream. More important to him, it seems, than his impending marriage to Tina Desai.

Unfolding in three gilded chapters – the Engagement Party, the Family Party, and the Wedding – this spruced-up golden-odlie sequel is as effusive and exasperating as Patel’s likeably exuberant Sonny Kapoor. The delicate, deeply affecting duet between two of the screen’s greatest Dames – Judi Dench and Maggie Smith – leaves everyone bar Sonny in the shade.

Even silver fox Richard Gere, making eyes at Sonny’s mum Lilette Dubey, finds it hard to compete with these formidable dowagers. “I don’t know why I tell you anything,” says Dench to Smith, who doesn’t give advice, only opinions: “Because I’m older and wiser.” 19 days, notes Dench (although it is in fact she who is 19 days older than Smith – they were both born in December 1934). Celia Imrie gets the jokes, Bill Nighy gets the jitters. “It’s funny, because it’s true,” guffaws a guest at one of Ronald Pickup’s colonial anecdotes. “Yes,” demurs Imrie, “unfortunately, it’s neither.” Which doesn’t apply to Second Best.

Maybe not the ‘Supreme Quality’ of the hotel Sonny hopes to acquire, but an upgrade on the first Best. And that’s simply down to the wonderful Maggie Smith (no relation). She’s great, here, as plain-speaking charlady Muriel Donnelly. No longer the miserably relocated racist, she’s been reincarnated as the unlikeliest fairy godmother, as still and forbidding as Boris Karloff’s Imhotep. “No present like the time,” says cabbie Rajesh Tailang. And Dame Maggie’s Muriel divines the truth in that.

Certificate: PG

Duration: 123min

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Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 23 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 23 January at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 24 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 24 January at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 25 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 25 January at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 26 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 26 January at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 27 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 27 January at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 28 January at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 28 January at 8:00PM