PG-13 (sexual content, strong language); 124 min.
A cast of great Brits of pensioner vintage lights up the John ( Shakespeare in Love) Madden film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, an adorable comedy about elderly pioneers tackling life's last great adventure.
The conceit in this film of the Deborah Moggach novel is that these folks -- retirees without vast savings -- are the next great "outsourcing" gold mine. India is ready to replace your hips and turn an ancient hotel into a retirement home.
As for the seniors, why not spend your retirement in a country where living is exotic and cheap, where the culture is famed for its respect for the elderly?
Evelyn (Judi Dench, pitch-perfect) is a vulnerable but plucky new widow who has never worked and who lost her home to her late husband's bad debts. Muriel (Maggie Smith, flintier than ever) is an ailing old racist. Jean and Douglas (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy) refuse the meager lifestyle at a British rest home and buy into the luxurious promises of the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Madge (Celia Imrie, funny) is on the lookout for one last (hopefully wealthy) husband. Norman (Ronald Pickup) is a randy old coot who doesn't feel like an old coot, and aims to prove it to the first willing woman he can find.
Graham (Tom Wilkinson, on the money) is a crusty judge who fears nothing so much as his own retirement party. They make their passage to India, to Jaipur, where they discover that young Sonny (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire) has overstated the virtues of his hotel "for the elderly and beautiful." But it all works out in the end, and that makes this charmer that rare movie that treats old age as more than tragic or cute, and never condescends to its characters or shortchanges its intended AARP-discount audience.
Exclusive: Landmark Magnolia, Dallas
-- Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service