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
Insane really. Even if you haven't seen the original George Cukor movie with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine and a cast of a thousand other stars you may dismiss this forced, politically correct, depressing comedy. Depressing for many different reasons. Meg Ryan for one. What has she done to herself? Her face can hardly move. That alone puts her miles away from Norma Shearer. Annette Bening should be suing the DP and Debra Messing, what the hell was she doing here? Actresses with no connection in the public's subconscious trying to pass for friends, totally unconvincingly. Eva Mendes in the Joan Crawford part is an outrageous piece of miscasting. What a terrible idea! Her character is like a trans-gender performer without any taste or subtlety. Bizarre to think that a woman adapted and directed this women.The only positive things I can mention are a short but very funny appearance by Bette Midler and Cloris Leachman as the housekeeper.
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