"A shame to see such a talented group of actors working with such poor dialogue..."

What happens when you take some of the finest and most renowned actors Britain has ever produced, fly them over to India and then strip them of their dignity? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, that's what.

The feature opens in London, depicting the lives of a host of elderly citizens, either struggling to cope with retirement financially, or merely seeking a route to a new life. However, as they all discover the glamorous and pensioner-friendly 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' in India run by the well-meaning yet incapable Sonny (Dev Patel), the option to start afresh in such leisurely and beautiful surroundings seems too good an opportunity to pass by.

On the flight to India we have widow Evelyn (Judi Dench), unhappy married couple Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton), the racist Muriel (Maggie Smith) and the homosexual judge Graham (Tom Wilkinson) amongst others. The group of strangers arrive at the hotel to find a somewhat different picture to what had been painted in the brochure, yet despite the quite hectic and dishevelled environment, the group find solace in one another, as they learn to live and love again, determined not to dwell on their pasts.

Despite a degree of unoriginality within the film - most evident in the script - if there is one aspect to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that you can be assured of, it is the quality of the performances by the stellar cast. Most impressive are Nighy and Dench, both playing lost souls seeking a new start, graciously adapting to the different environment that India has to offer. Their pending romance is sincere and the chemistry is discernible, no doubt thanks to the pair having been involved in a romantic storyline on two other occasions.

Wilkinson is also impressive, certainly offering the feature the most intriguing storyline. His character Graham was raised in India, and has returned for the first time for decades, desperately searching for a former lover whom he had 'disgraced' given their sexuality, hoping to reconnect with him yet fearing a cold shoulder.

The film does feel like a host of short stories being intertwined at the hotel, yet when judging each story of hope and desperation on their own merit, it really is only Graham's tale which holds any poignancy. The other narratives simply feel too contrived, lacking in substance. Both Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) are merely searching for a partner, paving the way for a horde of jokes about Viagra, and predictably moving conversations about being lonely.

Yet the most embarrassing sub-story belongs to Maggie Smith playing the fascist Muriel. With a few quite uneasy and uncomfortable discriminative statements early on, she opts to go to India for hip replacement surgery. And lo and behold, within five minutes and with little explanation, she's a changed woman, inevitably aware of her past mistakes. Yet praise must go Smith's way for daring to play such a character.

Therefore the issues in John Madden's feature are not really a fault of any of the cast but more the lacklustre script and artificial story-lines, which makes it a shame to see such a talented group of actors working with such poor dialogue, as I struggle to fathom why any of them chose to do it. There is such a thing as integrity and I just wish they'd held on to it.

The most cringe-worthy examples within the script are in the supposed humour. Despite bearing one or two relatively funny lines (most likely to have been said by Pickup) the jokes are otherwise reprocessed and obvious, such as calling the internet the interweb, like we haven't heard that one before.

I suppose in a sense the feature is as expected, a quite patently ordinary British film, unable to lose its Last of the Summer Wine tag. It goes on for too long, and I fear you may have to be over 65 years of age to enjoy it - and even then you may struggle. It isn't terrible, the performances are more than credible and at points it is moving, especially considering it's highlighting quite genuine and upsetting scenarios that the retired must face in Britain.

Yet such sympathy is erased when having to hear the incessant use of the word 'one' throughout, as in (real quote alert) "one has read one's guidebook." Well sorry guys, but one shan't be purchasing this movie on DVD.