Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

March 9, 2012 by staff 

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, What do you call a school of actors swimming upstream against an underwhelming script? How about “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”? Yes, that will do, even if the movie won’t.

It’s not like Kristin Scott Thomas, Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt don’t spawn copious amounts of charm, because they do. But even they don’t have the strength to make a successful run against roiling rapids of over-plotted comedy and drama that amalgamate into a swirling eddy of missed opportunity.

Surprising, since the script was penned by three-time Oscar-nominee Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who tries in vain to infuse “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” with the same blend of quirkiness and heart that he brought early in his career to “The Full Monty” and “Among Giants.” This time, though, he and director Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”) try much too hard to win us over, eventually reaching the point of diminishing returns once the half-dozen or so busy plot strands finally come together in a ridiculous finale.

They throw everything they can think of – image-conscious politicians, a good-hearted sheik, a troubled marriage, a soldier missing in action and a couple of terrorist plots – in trying to tell what should have been a simple story about a man and woman casting their fates to an impossible dream of bringing salmon fishing to the arid desertscapes of Yemen. And waiting there at the end of the film’s hook is a whopper romance between a pair of impossibly beautiful actors pretending to be lovable losers.

To say this movie requires an utter suspension of disbelief is a vast understatement. The only thing more obvious is where this trifling, predictable story is headed. And the longer it takes its sweet time to get there, the more you refuse to take the bait. That’s saying something, too, when the lure consists of McGregor and Blunt, two highly appealing actors who overcome their complete lack of chemistry with performances that suggest depth where none exists.

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