Two-star Hotel

Despite charming actors, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel falls flat

Dench press
Dench press

John Madden follows up last year’s crackling thriller The Debt with a piece of lightweight fluff tonally reminiscent of his directorial breakthrough Shakesepeare In Love, and comes up flat. Remarkably so, considering the acting royalty on hand to play a group of aging Brits taken in by an ad from an ambitious young Indian hotelier (Dev Patel), who aims to “outsource old age.” Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy are among the retirees who find the hotel to be less than the palace promised in the brochure and life in India to be more than a minor adjustment. Madden complacently coasts on the charm of his actors, charm that—while considerable—isn’t enough to turn flimsy character sketches into full-fledged characters or transform the movie into something memorable.

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