Rating: B-

Director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat) and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Simon Beaufoy bring Paul Torday’s novel, ‘Salmon Fishing in theYemen’, to life on the big screen. The inspirational comedy is a great surprise for those viewers who have not read the novel. It can be easily dismissed as a film to watch because of the title or the subject matter, but it is a smart story that mixes comedy, drama and romance very well for 107 minutes.

Clearly this is not a slapstick comedy that we are offered in theaters way too much in my opinion, but it has humor added to some serious ideas in life and love.   

In ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,’ a visionary sheik (Amr Waked) enjoys fishing for many reasons and dreams of having salmon fishing available in the desert. He has the monetary resources and a financial representative (Emily Blunt) to make it happen.

She needs to involve Britain’s leading fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) to buy into this project for her boss, but he thinks it is absurd and unachievable. The British government will not accept the fisheries expert’s opinion by any means as the Prime Minister’s press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) is on the hunt for a ‘good will’ story to promote. 

The casting of the actors for their respective characters is absolutely great. This has got to be one of my favorites for McGregor, right behind his role in ‘Beginners’ last year. I have seen Kristin Scott Thomas in a heavy drama such as ‘Sarah’s Key’ in which I think she is fabulous, but this comedic side is truly a gem and one not to be missed. I also believe this film elevates my opinion of Blunt’s talent, not because she has delivered good performances before, but perhaps she had not yet been cast with a good script that allowed her to shine through in the past.

For film fans on the hunt for a good investment of their movie dollars this weekend and not be insulted by other films’ ideas of “comedy,” this is one to watch.

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