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Star - Ewan McGregor
Genre - Romantic Comedy
Run Time - 107 minutes
Certificate - PG13
Country - USA
Awards - Three Golden Globe Nominations
Blockbuster Rental- £1.49 per night
Amazon -£.00 DVD (£ Blue Ray)
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Pink sells and just a brushstroke of it on a DVD cover can make or break a romantic comedy. Just as the comforting cerise catches a girls eye in Blockbuster it's also enough to put a single man off from renting one for life. If a suitable hunk is in it then the misses will be pulling at her mans sleeve to rent it, regardless of any plot inspection or joint decision making. In fact if there is pink on the cover it's a probably a sign that the creators know it's pretty bad. The male romantic lead leaning on something on the front cover (usually a lamppost) with his arms folded (usually Mathew McConaughey) is also a bad sign. But Hollywood rom-coms are a girl's idea of romance and pity her man if they don't live up to Channing Tatum's six pack or Robert Downey Juniors charisma there after. This film is firmly into that category, whether it wanted to be or not, the salmon definitely pink. I also expected that sergeant major off Monty Python to come marching on and stopping this film because its very silly.
Based on Paul Torday's book of the same name, which won a couple of notable literary prizes, this is probably not deserving of the pink respray it got here. Cheeky chappy Ewan McGregor and up and coming star Emily Blunt are afforded the lead here with surprise support from classy anglophile actress Kristen Scott Thomas and this so not her sort of movie. The shock is there is no Bill Nighy, so his type of movie.
Emily Blunt ... Harriet
Tom Mison ... Capt. Robert Mayers
Ewan McGregor ... Dr. Alfred Jones
Rachael Stirling... Mary Jones
Amr Waked ... Sheikh Muhammed
Kristin Scott Thomas ..Patricia Maxwell
Tom Beard ... Peter Maxwell
Catherine Steadman .. Ashley
Jill Baker ... Betty Burnside
Conleth Hill ... Bernard Sugden
Matilda White ... Abby Maxwell
Otto Farrant ... Joshua Maxwell
=== The Plot===
Scottish fisheries expert Dr Alfred Jones (McGregor) receives an email from financial consultant Harriet Chetwold-Tolbot (Blunt) on whether it's possible to introduce salmon to the Yemeni desert. A charismatic sheik with more money than sense is paying top dollar to make it happen by damming a river and building a fishery. But it's not possible as far as Dr Jones is concerned and dismisses it out of hand. But Harriet is not only persistent but extremely cute, a meeting organized in London but Dr Jones still not budging. So many things in the project are outrageously difficult to do or untested he simply can't comprehend it, especially the warm water desert temperature the salmon hate - that is, until, the government steps in.
The Prime Ministers pushy Press Secretary, Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas), needs a good news story in the Middle East after the British Air Force accidentally blows up a mosque in Afghanistan. That good news story is going to be the Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Project, Jones giving an offer from his boss (Bernard Sugden) he can't refuse.
After Tolbot kisses goodbye to her handsome new officer boyfriend Capt. Robert Mayers (Tom Mison) after he is posted to Afghanistan and Dr Jones says goodbye to wife Mary (Rachael Stirling) and the kids in the Highlands, the two are soon meeting the swashbuckling Sheik (Amr Waked) in the Yemen to start work. He has indeed dammed a river in the middle of nowhere and now he has to get the fish to fill it. But just as Harriet's relationship is on the up, for Jones, alas, his is heading in the opposite direction with Mary and so not long until he is drawn to the beautiful and sophisticated consultant.
The prince is charming and they all get on like a house on fire, soon spotting the attraction between the two and not only on a mission to fill his new river with salmon but pair them up. But things are hurled into the air when Captain Mayers is missing in action on his particular mission, Harriet back in London in despair and the project on hold. They still have 10,000 salmon waiting for a new home in the Yemeni dessert though and so its time for every one to swim against the current and get it done, the Foreign Secretary on his way from the grand opening.
Like when the Beatles split up and got involved in 'other things', you can't help but cringe at this one and hard to believe three times Oscar nominee director Lasse Hallström (Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Shipping News and What's Eating Gilbert Grape) got involved in this willingly, his Ravi Shankar collaboration moment. This is so polite and fluffy at times I would recommend a warning sticker on it for diabetics.
The best comment on it and this type of movie so far has to come from the Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke who said:"Is there any genre more wearying than the plodding, fat- brained adaptation of last year's book club favorite?" I thought that was spot on. Too many of these up market holiday chick lit reads get dumbed down to sell to twentysomethings admin assistants from Leicester, the Bridget Jones syndrome. They have really thinned this one down with pink turps to a mushy squidgy pulp from what could have been a fun and intelligent romantic comedy with an impressive cast. The absurd idea of putting salmon in a constructed Yemeni river an apt out of place metaphor for this film, a film built on corny metaphors, which come as thick and fast as the chunky dialogue, any satire turned quickly too saccharine. How many times do we need to be told that love is like swimming against the current and fish can be out of water?
The salmon fishing bit in the film quickly becomes irrelevant, simply background to silhouette the romance between the gauche McGregor and sniffling Blunt. It really could be any other romcom without the sand and the sheiks fishing fetish. I was expecting Mathew McConaughey to turn up at any moment with his shirt off looking for a lamp post to lean on. It's a shame as I like the cast but once we see which why the current is going they simply surrender to that frothy current and get washed away in the not so romantic rapids.
The cartoonish characters spoilt it the most, McGregor the bumbling nice guy scientists, Blunt drawn to sensitive macho man to keep her safe and sensitive intelligent man to be here equal. The poor old sheik is the biggest caricature of all with his ceremonial dagger and the flowing pristine white Keffiyeh straight from the old Lawrence of Arabia wardrobe at Elstree. The assassin with the kilt scene has to one of the worse of all time cinema history. It cost a reasonable $14 million to make and did $35 million back so enough sleeves were tugged outside the multiplexes to make it a success. Definitely females only for this one.
Imdb.com -6.8 /10.0 (34,277votes)
Metacrtic.com - 67% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - % critic's approval
The Irish Times -'Is there any genre more wearying than the plodding, fat- brained adaptation of last year's book club favorite?
Little White Lies -'Too light for its own good'
The Playlist -' It's an affable, inoffensive British comedy that just wants you to like it so much that you can't help but snicker behind its back'.
The Patriot Ledger -'To say this movie requires an utter suspension of disbelief is a vast understatement'.
Las Vegas Life -'Just because something seems absurd doesn't mean it can't happen'.
Scene Steelers.com -'Everything that happens is horribly predictable, and the tone varies from light and fluffy to over-the-top camp'.
The Scotsman -'These are scrunched script pages from Armando Iannucci's waste bin'
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a British made film from 2011. I liked the look of it when I saw trailers for it, and I purchased it for my aunty for her birthday. I then got an email from Tesco saying that if you bought a DVD from there you could watch in on their TV service, Blinkbox. It is also now available on lovefilm, and it is a film which is well worth a watch.
The films main stars are Ewan Mcgregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas. Emily Blunt plays Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, a financial adviser for a Sheikh in the Yemen. The Sheikh's main wish is to invest some of his money into introducing salmon fishing into his country. Harriet approaches Fred Jones (McGregor) who is an expert in the fishing industry to see how feasible this project is.
Initially Fred is very dismissive of this, but he comes under pressure from the government when they need a good news story from the Yemen area to counteract all the bad news stories and they jump upon this as their story.
Fred reluctantly gets involved, but as the project progresses he becomes more enamoured with it, especially when his wife decides to end their marriage. He grows very close to his colleague Harriet after her soldier boyfriend is presumed dead, and the pair of them throw themselves into the work to take their minds off their problems. But can they defy all odds to get this project up and running when no-one else really cares if it works or not?
I found this a totally heart warming film. At first I found that I didn't engage well with the story seeing Harriet form a relationship with soldier Robert, and watching Fred interact with his wife Mary. It seemed a bit stilted. As the story progresses though, you realise that obsessive Fred is someone who suffers from Aspergers, and I found it really interesting seeing how he struggles to form a friendship with Harriet and the Sheikh but how they take him into their hearts anyway.
This is actually quite a comedic film in parts. Kristen Scott Thomas plays politician Patricia Maxwell, and she is such a stereotypical MP blundering around trying to put on a good show for the media circus. There are IMs sent between her and the Prime Minister shown on screen and they had me and my husband in stitches watching it.
At the same time, there is a gently involving story looking at how Fred and Harriet deal with their personal lives being devastated and rebuild a life for themselves. At times, I felt real despair that the project was not progressing and might completely fail, but Fred doesn't give up hope once he has put his heart and soul into it.
With a run time of 107 minutes, I found that I was engaged throughout the whole length of the film, although it did take me the first ten-fifteen minutes to get myself fully interested. It was the sort of film that I would willingly watch again and recommend.
The only downside really is that the film does rely on stereotypes a little too much. At first I wasn't keen on the way Fred's Aspergers was portrayed, and I also found Patricia's character rather annoying. I also think that perhaps Ewan Mcgregor although great in the role was perhaps a little too old to act opposite Emily Blunt in a slightly romantic role. But I could get past this and it might just be me that feels like it. It didn't spoil my overall enjoyment.