THE cast from the first film is back for this sequel, but the magic and witty repartee in the first are missing. I thought I would have enjoyed the interaction between the veteran actors, but instead, I
found their stories monotonous, blase and old.
The story of elderly white Britons invading their former colony to set up home in their old age is a new form of colonisation, but it had its novelty in the first film. Now, however, the film sags throughout.
Evelyn (Judi Dench) narrated the first film but it's now Muriel (Maggie Smith) whom the camera follows. The latter co-manages the hotel with the ever-ingratiating and exuberant motor mouth Sonny (Dev Patel). The duo want to expand their business and go to the US to pitch their idea to Ty (David Straithairn).
Sonny has his plate full as he also has to organise his wedding to the delicious Sunaina (Tina Desai), and viewers can bet on their retirement fund that the wedding plans will encounter turbulence.
The film, written by Ol Parker and John Madden, and directed by Madden, ascribes neat and convenient jobs to the characters, such as Madge (Celia Imrie) working in an expat club, Carol (Diana Hardcastle) working in a firm, and Evelyn working for a clothing firm, and she's even better at bargaining than the locals.
This second film is full of cliches, such as Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Evelyn pining for each other from a distance but not diving into it wholeheartedly. So you know they will get together by the end of the film.
Madge can't decide between two wealthy Indian men, but viewers can see it coming from afar that she will fall for another man.
What I would have liked to have seen more of is the relationship between Evelyn and Muriel, but sadly, that is like wishing that Furious 7 would be an Oscar contender. The one scene of importance between them flashes by in the blink of an eye.
The film's flaws are the slow editing, the veteran actors saddled with old stories, and the desire of the filmmaker to include every one in this sequel. I believe reducing the number of actors would have added some snap to the film's pace.
And using a debonair actor like Richard Gere, who plays a book writer called Guy, in an uninteresting role is wasted. Guy's scenes with Sonny's mum (Lilette Dubey) are unnatural and cringe-worthy.
The film's theme is about the sacredness of time and how people must grab time by the collar and make the best use of it. This film, however, wastes viewers' time.
1½ out of 5 stars