Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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(2011)

BBC2: Saturday 9 May, 9.15pm

Under Downing Street instruction, fisheries expert Ewan McGregor and investment consultant Emily Blunt are sent to the Yemen to appease an oil-rich sheik… smoothing Arab-Anglo relations, spin doctor Kristin Scott Thomas calls it. After In the Loop, this leaden whimsy is up the creek without a paddle. Director Lasse Hallström made My Life as a Dog, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and The Cider House Rules. Alas, all his other work is either middle-class fondue like Chocolat or unedifying claptrap like Dear John and this gleaming sitcom, which blithely puts Afghanistan and terrorism at the service of its silly plot. It makes the notion of it being a grandly romantic comedy seem like some lavish practical joke, and it also fails utterly in its attempts to echo Ealing comedies of the 50s. The unmissed UK Film Council had a hand in this CBS/BBC co-production, chucking Lottery funds at it no doubt. Skip it and watch Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero instead.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 107min

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