Film Review: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt Flounder in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

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CHICAGO – Often when novels with quirky titles get made into films, all that is left of the quirk is the name on the cover. That is exactly what has happened to “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” a tome authored by Paul Torday, and reduced to torpid blandness by director Lasse Hallstrøm. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, competent or funny in other films, are barely awake in this one, and they are supposed to be the romantic spark. There are such odd motivations for all the characters, but instead of seeming offbeat or like satire, they merely add to the confusion of what exactly the film is supposed to be representing. There are some humorous parts, there are some political maneuverings and there is a romance, but each seem separate from the other, and that certainly don’t add up to a cohesive whole.

Ewan McGregor is Dr. Alfred Jones, a British Fisheries expert (typecasting!) who is reluctantly volunteered into a project that involves an eccentric Sheikh Muhammad (Amr Waked). The sheikh is a salmon fishing nut, but laments at his home in the Arab nation of Yemen there are no opportunities for that type of angling – it seems that salmon are a fish species indigenous to north regions like Britain. A public relations film, represented by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), are hired by the sheikh to bring salmon fishing to the arid land, and they in turn get Dr. Jones involved.

Alfred and Harriet’s close working relationship begins to stir feelings, but Harriet has given her heart to a British soldier who is in Afghanistan. While the project rolls on, Harriet learns that her boyfriend is missing in action, and she immediately shuts down any possibility of her and Alfred connecting. The fish project has also turned into a political football for Bridget Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas), an operative who sees an chance for the Prime Minister to curry votes. All this, and fly fishing too.

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” opens everywhere in on March 9th. Featuring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked and Catherine Steadman. Screenplay Adaptation by Simon Beaufoy. Directed by Lasse Hallstrøm. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

Emily Blunt (Harriet) and Ewan McGregor in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’
Emily Blunt (Harriet) and Ewan McGregor (Alfred) in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’
Photo credit: CBS Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

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