Salmon Fishing in the Yemen review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
A rather disappointing romantic comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has plenty in it’s arsenal to make a catchy little British comedy with a little heart warming romance at it’s core. What is delivered instead is a predictable and rather touchy-feely romance with a bizarre and frankly poorly explored premise.
Based on the best selling novel by Paul Torday, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen tells the story of Sheikh Muhammad (Asr Waked) an incredibly rich man with a love of fly fishing who employs a British fisheries expert, Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), to help him build a suitable lake for the sport in the middle of the desert. To accomplish this he also requires a little help from the British government, in the form of the Prime Minster’s PA, Patricia Maxwell, the one likeable character played by Kristen Scott Thomas.
The romantic element comes from the problematic relationship that develops between Jones and the Sheikh’s financial assistant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), whose job it is to convince Alfred to get on board with the Sheikh’s plans. Her methods of doing so are a little unorthodox – although at first the pair do make vague attempts at not falling for each other – but end in an utterly unsurprising fashion.
The cast list for the movie comes as quite a shock considering the tawdry nature of the final piece, but one imagines that on paper this looked like a diamond in the rough; perhaps in the hands of someone such as Richard Curtis a better balance might have been struck, the movie was directed instead by the Swede Lasse Hallstrom who has turned the movie into passably charming romance.
One can’t help but feel as though the full potential of this movie has gone unexplored, the comedy elements almost entirely forgotten and the final outcome somewhat of a disappointment.