Director Lasse Hallström’s newest picture, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is about an eccentric sheik who loves fishing so much he’s willing to pay obscene amounts of money to create a permanent river in the deserts of Yemen, stocked with salmon. It then becomes up to his legal council to find a fisheries expert who can make it happen. And here we have the set-up for a really boring movie. Except, watching the trailer, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen doesn’t seem boring at all.

Most of that probably has to do with the fact that the legal council and the fisheries expert are played by Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, two actors with more charm in their fingernails than most people have in their whole bodies. I kind of have big crushes on both of them, so watching McGregor play nervous and proper, and Blunt playing blunt and driven, and seeing the two of them turn banter into romance…well, it all just seems to be too cute for words. Add in Kristin Scott Thomas as a sassy newspaper woman with shady motives, and this may be a movie with too much charm for its own good.

That cuteness is magnified even more, since those charming actors are helped along by an adapted screenplay (from the novel the film is based on) by Simon Beaufoy, who did such great adaptation work for Danny Boyle with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.

After the first twenty seconds or so of the trailer, it stops looking like this is a movie about fishing, and it starts looking much more like a character piece. The prospective couple Blunt and McGregor are playing, Thomas’ reporter, and heck, even the wacky sheik, they all seem to be well-drawn, and they look like they get properly developed over the course of the film. This thing looks like it manages to be funny, too! Or is that just my crushes on the actors really taking over? Why am I suddenly looking forward to a romance about fishing that has such a stupid-sounding title?

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen opens on March 2, 2012.[Yahoo! Movies]


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