Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" Review

    Yes, that's really the title. This is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen!

    Sounds thrilling right? Yes, the most remarkable thing about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is it's terrible, yet endearing title. The film follows Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) after he is asked by consultant Harriet (Emily Blunt) to help a Sheikh (Amr Waked) accomplish the seemingly impossible task of introducing fly-fishing for salmon into the Yemen. Their story gets picked up by press secretary Patricia (Kristen Scott Thomas) who wants to use it as a good-will story from the middle east. Along they way, Harriet's military officer boyfriend Robert (Tom Mison) dies and Alfred leaves his wife Mary (Rachael Stirling).
    At first, Salmon Fishing seems like it may actually be more than just an ordinary rom-com. After all, when the plot involves fly-fishing and middle-eastern politics, conventional is probably hard to pull off. The romance between McGregor and Blunt is toned down and the salmon idea is given a chance to grow. And it actually kinda works. McGregor is able to get a lot of humor through and Blunt is as likable as ever. And if you don't know much about fly-fishing, then you won't get lost in the plot. However, once the action does actually get to Yemen, the movie suddenly veers into the cliched.

     Despite it's odd title, this movie is about as cliched a romantic comedy as it can get. It has the standard plotlines that help set up the romance then disappear when their job is done. There is of course a last minute twist that causes the characters to break up before the big romantic climax. Here though, the twist is especially ridiculous and so obvious that it's remarkable that the film still wants us to take it seriously afterward. Attempts are made to make the story darker than it actually needs to be, all so the film can appear to have an edge to it.
    This films is a part of a surprisingly rising trend of Very-Polite-Film-About-Animal-Lovers-Doing-Crazy-Things. Last year's The Big Year was similarly polite and animal-heavy (Birds, not Salmon), but was funnier and more interesting. Here, the characters are all so nice and polite. They all do nice things and when things get bad, they talk about faith and it's all alright again. This movie is equivalent to a hotel doorman. A hotel doorman is paid to be polite and nice. This movie just can't seem to bring itself to do anything all the crazy.
    The biggest fault with the film is not that it's bad. It a good enough film. But it's hard to get that invested when everything is just oh so kind and polite. It's a movie that will wash over you and then be forgotten just as quickly as it came. Out of all the downright terrible movies I reviewed this year, this movie is good and it was the toughest review to actually make. Writing it was easy enough. But finding any motivation to want to talk about this film, just two days after I saw it, was very hard. It's hard to not just want to say "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is nice enough, I guess" and move on.

Hey, this looks familiar...
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen starts out strong, has a good cast and is pretty enjoyable. But, then it just become so mundane. I checks off romantic cliches like it's going down the list. And it's just all so nice that it almost seems not worth our time to sit through this film. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is nice enough, I guess. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen gets 3 stars out of 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment