The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel John Madden

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel John Madden
The only thing more predictably standard and blandly reassuring than the raunchy "American boy" comedy is the formulaic, British, inspirational comedy/drama. It's as though the only thing distinguishing Love Actually from Billy Elliot, The Full Monty or Calendar Girls are their central conceits, which all ostensibly unfold in the exact same manner, doling out uplifting, but glib messages of following your heart or overcoming obstacles. With The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the conceit is that of the elderly forging out into the world to try something new, learning that it's "never too late" in the process. A ragtag gang of strangers in their golden years, including recently widowed Evelyn (Judi Dench), homosexual judge Graham (Tom Wilkinson), skirt-chasing Norman (Ronald Pickup), horny and loveless Madge (Celia Imrie), racist and curmudgeonly Muriel (Maggie Smith), and the unhappily married Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) go to India's titular Marigold Hotel. Once there, they realize the pamphlets were misleading ― suggesting a dream getaway when actually it's a rundown complex without running water ― and that India has a flow very different than that of England. As expected, the majority of them all learn to "go with the flow" of India, interpreting life as a privilege rather than a right while taking second chances at love, desires and the whirlwind of foreign possibilities. And since the story wouldn't be complete with a bit of local colour, the hotel owner (Dev Patel) bridges the whole "modern versus traditional India" gap, bringing a contemporary woman into his traditional home despite his mother's disapproval. Because this is a light-hearted comedy featuring broad life lessons about the nature of regret and following your heart, this tenuous look at the conflict between modern and traditional India is as patronizing and ill-conceived as the implication that running off to a foreign country when you're at a crossroads will resolve all of your problems. Fortunately, any analysis of what's actually unfolding is eschewed in favour of musical montages of the various characters running to the toilet after eating Indian cuisine. Included with the DVD are two extremely brief supplements on the cast and filming. Everyone has super-positive things to say about everything and everyone. (Fox)