For Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) his focus should be on his upcoming wedding to Sunaina (Tina Desai) but instead his attention is on a mystery guest who is coming to evaluate the business in order for Sonny and Mrs. Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) tp expand by buying a second hotel. Mrs. Donnelly is not the only guest still there as Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) are now working in the area whilst trying to deal with what ever they have going on, with both not quite sure what that is. Also not quite sure are Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Carol (Diana Hardcastle) with both struggling to deal with their relationship whilst Madge (Celia Imrie) finds herself torn between a couple of local gentleman who she has been dating at the same time.
"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" didn't need to be made and has a feel of a movie which was made partly to cash in on the popularity of the first movie. I say that because "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a movie of two halves and the first half of it feels quite simply chaotic. As we catch up with Sonny and each of those guests who have made the hotel their permanent home it seems to be going all over the place from Sonny focused on his empire building whilst to put it simply everyone seems to be having relationship quandaries. Although in the case of Norman he begins to wonder whether he has inadvertently put a hit out on Carol when he returned back drunk one night. But it does make it a movie which seems to flit all over the place as it tries to give us a bit of story involving each character.
Now there is a sort of central storyline to all this or at least the one which we always seem to return to before flitting off to one of the others and that is the whole mystery guest bit. And yes this is as classic as it sounds as in fact two unexpected guests show up at the same time and Sonny believes Guy is the guy from American sent to assess the operation. It is fun but for the most as cliche as it sounds and so whilst it brings Richard Gere in to the movie it is almost like a vehicle for all the other stories to keep returning to rather than being the main focus.
But the things about "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is that whilst at times it is chaotic and with all the relationship issues a bit samey it ends up growing and becoming the movie we want. I wouldn't go as far as to say there is great emotional depth which emerges from all the chaos but it does deliver some touching scenes and also fun whilst not completely dispatching with the chaos.
What this all boils down to is that "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is not quite up there with the first movie and in truth didn't need to be made but it ends up coming good following a chaotic first half which gets a little too chaotic and over the top at times.