Based on the eponymous novel by Paul Torday and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Dear John), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a light romantic comedy that dreams – no matter how absurd or not – may just turn into reality.
Officious government PR official Harriet (Emily Blunt) and press secretary Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) pressures British fishing consultant Alfred (Ewan McGregor) into helping wealthy Yemeni sheik Muhammad (Amr Waked) stock a manmade river with 10,000 North Atlantic salmon so his people may enjoy the joys of fly fishing in a desert. A task that seems impossible at first quickly turns into life lessons and philosophy between Alfred and the visionary sheik Muhammad. Obstacles? They just had to include Muslim extremists into the picture.
Alas, the script is disappointing – trivializing setbacks and challenges while focusing too much on the irrelevant. The novel known for its satirical humor also loses much of that in movie adaptation.
That is not to say the movie is entirely unenjoyable. The main leads, McGregor, Blunt and Waked, are charming, lovely and charismatic. The chemistry between the two leads are endearing and the film breaks some boundaries by exploring new grounds. Check it out for its cultural revelations and hopeful message.