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quartetI liked Exotic Marigold Hotel more than I thought I would. I didn’t love it, but it was passable entertainment. We jump now from the old people in an exotic locale, to a retirement home. Ah, if only forcing old folks into a home were this easy and cutesy.

It’s bizarre that at age 75, this is the first movie Dustin Hoffman has decided to direct. He certainly shows his affection for these interesting actors and singers, and he’s talked in interviews about how he grabbed a bunch of them for smaller parts in the movie (and the closing credits have the classy touch of putting in their old photos).

The talented cast of British actors includes Maggie Smith (didn’t she also need a hip replacement in Marigold?), Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, and an actor I want to see more of – comedian Billy Connolly (Brave). Unfortunately, his character is the crude one always saying inappropriate things and often having to urinate. Perhaps they could’ve made his naughty character humorous; instead, it’s just creepy. Would we laugh at an old person acting like this in real life, or tell our kids to stay away from him?

This was originally a stage play by Oscar-winning writer Ronald Harwood (who adapted the screenplay). The English countryside was gorgeous, and who wouldn’t love waking up to the Bach and Verdi? And I always enjoy hearing songs from The Mikado.

Two characters in the story lecture music students on what it was like in the world of opera, even getting into a spirited debate with a fan of rap music. When Smith, a fourth member of their celebrated quarted moves in, things go south. There was a bad break-up, and on top of that – their beautiful home needs to raise some funds. They decide the best way to do this was to get the band back together for one last performance.

The story is too thinly conceived, and there’s not a lot of dramatic tension. I also didn’t think a lot of the jokes worked, and many times I just found myself bored.

I was really looking forward to this, and perhaps that raised my expectations higher than they should’ve been.

I can only give this 1 ½ stars out of 5.


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