The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Madden, 2011)
Often genuinely humorous and featuring two excellent performances, in the end The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel finds itself far too guilty of safe and oftentimes ridiculous storytelling, as well as what seemed to be a fear of characters being real people. Out of the seven main characters, not one of them is without an eccentricity. Some of these quirks are introduced right away and dropped almost as quickly (thank heavens), but most remain throughout the entire film. It’s as if Madden was worried we’d get bored having a few of these folks just deal with common troubles.
Judi Dench and Bill Nighy shine in their performances, both on their own and (despite having a poorly written and hackneyed relationship arc) in scenes together, working off of each other. They are easily the highlight of the film, and luckily they dominate the screen time. It’s a good thing, because every other character is either thrown in whatever direction benefits the plot or treated in an overly sentimental fashion. 6/10