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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (PG-13) 

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Known for deceptively light and fluffy concoctions like Chocolat, Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom hits the pastry kitchen once again with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. The film is based on British writer Paul Torday's novel of the same name, which imagines a Yemeni sheik who wants to bring cold-water fly fishing to his hot and sandy world as a symbolic act of faith. Written entirely in emails, memos and diary entries, Torday's book quickly develops into a gentle satire as the British Prime Minister's office takes a political shine to the sheik's nearly impossible project. In Hallstrom's hands, the story becomes a pure and almost American-style romantic comedy. There are some genuine laughs, and Emily Blunt is ravishing as a property manager who gradually falls for a fisheries scientist (Ewan McGregor). The movie will disappoint absolutely no one who's looking for a sweet diversion. But given the rich possibilities of its premise, Hallstrom's film feels like a missed opportunity. There's nothing wrong with dessert, but it tends to go down better when preceded by a substantial meal. — KEN KORMAN


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