British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Based on a very clever comedy by Claire Booth, wife of Time Publisher Henry Luce and later Ambassador to Italy. One of the surprises was an all-woman cast, novel in the 1930's. And although there were no men in the cast, most of the dialog was about them. The story is rather thin and depended on the fact that divorce, in the 1930's, was not only difficult but almost impossible in New York. Mrs. Stephen Haynes learns that her husband is seeing a salesgirl at Saks, and reluctantly divorces him, abetted by her friends, all of whom have romantic problems of their own. In the 1930's New York women who could afford it went to Nevada, where residency could be established quickly and divorce was relatively easy. The 1939 film, starring Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, was a hit. This one, with an even better looking cast, is definitely not, largely because someone tried to move a 1930's situation comedy into the present. Written by
I have never seen the original 1930s version of the film, but this remake is one of the worst I have seen from a major production studio in years. Seeing actors such as Meg Ryan and Annette Bening, once near A level talents, sleepwalk their way through poorly scripted roles is painful. There appeared to be no desire to be in front of the camera for anyone in this film.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Debra Messing play worthless roles that have no bearing on the plot and add no entertainment value. Jada Pinkett Smith's character is used as nothing more than a ploy to appear modern, having an African American lesbian character, but in actuality she is there to just look cool. There is no actual reason why Messing in this film other than to fill out the amount of women in the original I take.
The side characters played by Eva Mendes and Debi Mazar are stereotypical female characters, with Mendes portraying the vixen looking to steal the wealthy but bored and mildly neglected husband and Mazar covering the gossip roles.
The movie is boring, lacking charm, humor, or sympathy for any characters. It almost felt like the movie was a punishment for everyone involved, whether in front of or behind the camera.
There is one glimmering hope in the film, however little it is allowed to shine surrounded by the dim and dying stars around it is Cloris Leachman. Leachman is still an amazing talent that brings her remarkable charm and humor to the film, in the small role that she has.
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