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Hotel goes up a Gere; All-star sequel is as good as first movie - with the added attraction of Hollywood charmer Richard.

It is pretty much business as usual with The Second Best Exotic Margold Hotel as a wonderful bunch of elassy veteran British actors continue to have fun in the sun.

But this time around it is boosted by a bit of Hollywood glamour in the form kof the sleek and charming Richard Gere. It is a fun and breezily undern anding comedy romp that is easy on the eye and punctuated with some delightful moments.

The original 2012 release The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a surprise sleeper hit, snagging the 'grey pound' as well as appealing to audiences of all ages.

With the likes of Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and Bill Nighy, you naturally expect great things as a bunch of 'elderly and beautiful' continue to embrace life in vibrant India.

This sequel picks up directly from the last film and rather engagingly opens on Route 66 in America as Sonny (Dev Patel) drives his hotel partner, a flustered Muriel Donnelly (a magnificent Maggie Smith), in an open-top car to a meeting with potential backers for their proposed second hotel in Jaipur.

There is a sense of soap opera to the proceedings with the 'will they-won't they' would-be romance between Dench and Nighy's characters. At the core of the film is the build-up to Sonny's wedding to Sunaina (Tina Desai) but it is the pensioners who drive the story.

There is real chemistry between all of the characters, and while there is little in the way of surprises, it is reassuringly enjoyable with a team of great actors in their very best form.

Gere is a nice addition to the Marigold Hotel family as a divorced would-be author who Sonny suspects may be an undercover hotel inspector. He takes an interest in Sonny's stern mother (Lillete Dubey), giving the film a dash of romantic frisson.

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL 15 122mins

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STAR GUEST...Richard Gere

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 22, 2015
Words:322
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