Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristen Scott Thomas.
Rated PG-13. Comedy/Drama/Romance. Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes.
The second review we ever wrote was of the Savannah Nail Bar. I had dropped Maria off to get her nails done and went on a couple of errands, one of which was to check the starting time of a movie we potentially wanted to go see, truth be told Maria wanted to see it more than me. As you might have guessed, that movie was indeed Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. In that review I wrote, “The time was a no go. No offense baby but I wasn’t too disappointed. The word Yemen in the title didn’t scream movie magic to me.” Almost immediately after writing that, my friend Kevin called me and said “You know that statement is somewhat racist, beside the fact that the movie is pretty good.” I informed him I was just attempting to be humorous and vowed someday to see the movie. Well, we took advantage of Redbox’s 10th anniversary and rented it the other night for free. Kevin was right, not necessarily about the racist comment imo, but the movie was very good. You can’t get much more original than the premise. Yemeni Sheikh Muhammed (Waked) an avid fisherman, wants to build a river in the desert and stock it with salmon from England. Enter his associate Harriet (Blunt) who attempts to enlist the services of a fisheries expert, the incredibly boring Dr. Alfred Jones (McGregor). He, of course, initially finds the whole project insane, but eventually is forced into service by government pressure. I know it doesn’t sound too exciting, but the movie is superbly acted at every turn, and the chemistry between McGregor and Blunt is felt from their first scene.
The movie appealed to me for several reasons. For starters, I had heard from several people that it was worth a watch. Secondly, Emily Blunt is the cutest ever. I loved her in “The Devil Wears Prada”, she’s equally adorable in “The Adjustment Bureau” and she proves herself again as a great female lead in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. McGregor does a fantastic job opposite her, portraying the serious doctor who can’t help sharing his often sarcastic and comical thoughts on the absurdity of the project he’s been forced to oversee. His socially awkward delivery paired with an underlying cynicism colors his character perfectly. As a whole, the movie was relevant, smart and extremely original. A delight from start to finish, Yemen made me feel good and inspired after watching.
Emily Blunt is cute and she is definitely working her way up the pecking order toward “A” list actress. I personally love Ewan McGregor as well, and can’t think of a movie he’s been in that I haven’t enjoyed. What an evolution of characters he’s had! From one of his first efforts (if not his very first) a heroin junkie in Trainspotting, to a naive writer (with some seriously decent singing chops) in the musical Moulin Rouge. A young Obi Wan in the Star Wars prequels, an untested but gallant medic in Black Hawk Down. Even his Dr. Jones in Salmon Fishing, who I just described as “incredibly boring” has more layers than a parfait (a shout out to Donkey from Shrek).
McGregor is impressive in a lot of different roles, I thoroughly enjoyed him in Big Fish as the sweet talking, charming Mr. Edward Bloom. Apparently we’re not the only big fans of Ewan. Ironically, only hours after watching Salmon Fishing, we stumbled upon Louis C.K.’s ‘Shameless’. I love a stand up comic by the way and Louis is hilarious. He has a knack for perversion (which we love) and a killer delivery. He starts this bit about meeting McGregor at some event and thinking to himself, “Wow, this guy is gorgeous.” He went on to say he found himself later daydreaming about McGregor’s beautiful face…and other parts of his body. And there’s another item for you to rent or add to your queue – his stand up is brilliant. But I digress. Salmon Fishing is a gem that you should not miss. It touches on numerous subjects, examining love and marriage, but also religion and faith. It doesn’t just spew out the usual formulaic romantic comedy dribble, it has real depth and range.
I totally forgot about Big Fish! Another McGregor movie and role I love. As Maria told you we happened upon Louis C.K. later that night, and we were rolling. Then he does the bit about Ewan and we both knew that had to go in this review, just too coincidental. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is unique, entertaining, full of heart and recommended for your viewing pleasure. As is Louis C.K., I might add. If you want to catch some of his act now, I’ll give you two words to Google that will bring it right up for you: “duck vaginas.” Enjoy.
Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummy Bears out of 5. Also…5 Gummies for Louis C.K.’s “Shameless”.
Ross’ Rating: 3.75 Gummy Bears. A big ditto 5 for LCK too.