Seven English seniors land in the same hotel in India thanks to cinematic serendipity. Together they overcome the predictable challenges of culture shock (even though some of these actors were alive when India was still a British colony) and learn that life still has lessons to give, even in the autumn years.
A salad of stereotypes makes up the characters – from the sassy gold digger to the lecherous old man to the sick, sad racist – in order to really push this dune buggy along in terms of character development. we meet a member of a newer stereotype (definitely a sign of the times) in the loveable old gay “more in theory than in practice” man, but that’s hardly enough to make a fresh film.
While the message that it’s never too late to jump back in the game is nice (read: a forgone conclusion by the time you’ve bought the ticket), it’s still a touch too simplistic, and that’s why this film may succeed in delighting mainstream audiences but fail to entertain the more serious among us. It’s formulaic and takes itself too seriously.
Cheaper jokes would have been more entertaining instead of focusing on strangling your heart with cliché, sentimentality and yes, more cliché. If you’re really looking to see people recapture their boogyin’ moments, note that this film is Cocoon without the insane sci-fi premise and the glorious 1980s cheese.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel | Directed by John Madden (UK 2011) with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson. Starts March 15