GFF 2012: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
TBEMH opens with a series of subversions. Half-a-dozen grey-haired archetypes (including Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith) stick two fingers up to the UK – its paltry pension, its NHS that can’t give them a bed, and its general public that thinks anyone over 50 requires one of those walk-in baths that Dame Thora Hird advertises – and head for a luxurious retirement in India.
Mainstream cinema has ignored the grey pound too, tending instead to cater for adolescent boys. What a pity, then, that TBEMH is as schematic as any summer event movie, with character arcs that could be plotted on a graph from the minute our ensemble arrives at the eponymous, dubiously named lodgings. The cast, who can make the ripest dialogue sound Shakespearean (see Smith’s eight film sentence as Professor McGonagall), help make it all rather frothy in a Carry on Pensioner kind of way. However, any good will is washed down with tabloid vinegar by a subplot involving Judie Dench schooling a broadband provider’s Indian telemarketing team in the ways of Blighty, which comes off as Daily Mail reader wish fulfillment. [Jamie Dunn]