When we saw that “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen,” the latest from director Lasse Hallstrom had been added to the TIFF slate, we didn’t go out of our way to find time to see it. The director, who impressed with “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “The Cider House Rules” has long settled into helming a string of increasingly mediocre films like “An Unfinished Life,” “The Hoax,” “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” and last year’s intolerable “Dear John.” So can you blame us if we didn’t carve out time to see it in Toronto? Turns out the joke was on us, as according to most people we heard from, “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen” was a pleasant surprise. Nothing earth-shattering, but a worthwhile, entertaining little nugget that was certainly a step up from the director’s other recent work. Well, CBS Films didn’t waste any time in acquiring the rights and though we didn’t get a chance to see it, our pals over at C7nema have pointed us in the direction of a couple of clips from the film.
Based on Paul Torday‘s best-selling novel, and penned by “Slumdog Millionaire” scribe Simon Beaufoy, the film stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt and tells the story of a scientist (McGregor) who’s brought to Yemen to, yes, help introduce salmon to the Highland waters of the country, but who falls for the aide of the sheik (Blunt). The clips below are slightly uneven though intriguing. The first is a bit too on the nose thematically with the sheikh intoning his hopes of fly fishing as some of equalizer of all men, but the second is much better with McGregor’s scientist incredulously explaining what would be required to get salmon breeding in the African nation. It seems Hallstrom’s penchant for sap is still strong, but at least the comedic tones evinced here work well, and certainly McGregor and Blunt are promisingly charming as the leads.
No release date for this one yet, but it’s likely to be a 2012 release as it’s not really going to be an awards season picture. So for now, check out the clips below.