fun with golden oldies...

LIGHTWEIGHT dramatic and comedic adventures in India for people of a certain age are the selling point of this pleasant, undemanding British confection.

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It begins by introducing us to a group of different characters, all unknown to each other.

There's the recently widowed Judi Dench, invalid Maggie Smith, retired lawyer Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and his wife (Penelope Wilton) and a couple of others.

They all up sticks to Jaipur, to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for those in their golden years – like the Costa Brava but with more elephants.

Far from living up to the name, it turns to be a complete dump or, as Dev Patel's young manager believes, very much a work in progress.

The main selling point is of course the wonderful cast, and they inhabit a nice range of characters.

Everyone has their individual journey, their own problems and foibles and quests, and while some are far more engaging than others, there's generally something on screen worth caring about.

Wilkinson is especially affecting, and Smith is called on to provide most of the laughs with her initially bigoted and crotchety old salt.

But some of the story-lines are rather far-fetched and flimsy, bordering on ridiculous.

The film itself could easily stand to be shorn of at least one of its characters, thus dropping 20 minutes from the excessive running time, and it undoubtedly dips after the point that one of them exits proceedings.

But it's in the fine tradition of British comedy dramas for mature audiences, and though it certainly isn't for everyone, the target audience will lap it up.


John Madden

Running time: 124 mins


Slumdog Millionaire; Calendar Girls


Mature audiences are sure to lap up this comedy drama


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