Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Lasse Hallstrom, the Swedish director of Chocolat and Casanova, directs this disarmingly sweet-natured tale of a harried fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor), enlisted against his better scientific judgment to assist a Yemeni sheik in an ambitious project to bring fly-fishing to his homeland.
As the sheik's smoothly unruffled representative, Harriet (Emily Blunt) is initially set up as an antagonist to McGregor's bureaucratic egghead. In the way of all good romantic comedies - and Hallstrom's comedy is a winning one at that - they inevitably warm to each other once their essential humanity shines through.
It's Kristin Scott Thomas who seems to have the jolliest time of all, however. Her mordantly funny turn as a ministerial adviser with an unerring aptitude for 'spin' conveys some of the abrasiveness of Paul Torday's satirical novel, adapted for Hallstrom's amiable film by Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day).