Friday, March 30, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - 3 1/2 stars

There is a rich oil sheikh who has a castle in Scotland. His favorite pasttime is fly fishing. He decides he would like to bring Salmon fishing to the Middle East, so he asks his financial consultant, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) to make it happen. She contacts Britain's leading fishing expert Fred Jones (Ewan McGregor) to help. He tells her she's crazy. Salmon need cold water; the water in Yemen is warm. Salmon need fresh water; the water in Yemen is too salty.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's press secretary, Bridget Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) is looking for a good story. All the news stories coming out of the Middle East are about the wars and soldiers getting killed, so she needs an uplifting story about the region. When she catches wind of the sheikh's idea for fishing in Yemen, she contacts Jones and orders him to make it happen.

This is a wonderful movie. The characters are well developed and they have interesting things to say. Jones is married but not happy. He also might have Asperger's syndrome (the character mentions it, but it seemed like he was joking). Ms. Chetwode-Talbot (as Jones refers to her over and over) is dating a soldier fighting in Afghanistan.

The best character, who also doesn't get enough screen time, is Maxwell. If you saw In The Loop, she may remind you of Malcolm Tucker. She thinks everyone else is an idiot, and has no problem chewing them out in front of other people. I would like to see an entire movie focused on her and her interactions with other government workers.

The movie is more drama than comedy, but there are a lot of funny parts. The humor comes from the characters rather than being lame setups and jokes. The movie does drag in a few spots and the tone goes from serious to light and funny a few too many times, but that is a very minor complaint. I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. It just works.

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