Amr Waked in “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (PG-13) — This quaint and uplifting romantic comedy swims upstream against overplotting and lands safely in the waters of happy endings and charming interpersonal chemistry. The two lovely people caught in a peculiar situation are Alfred (Ewan McGregor), a British fisheries expert, and Harriet (Emily Blunt), a representative for a sheik who wants to bring fly fishing to the Middle East. A hilariously snippy UK press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) decides it would make a nice news story to indulge the ludicrous idea of introducing Scottish fish to a desert stream.

The movie gets bogged down in the middle, when the obstacles to romance have to be addressed (Alfred’s cold wife, Harriet’s boyfriend, terrorists). However, the performances from Blunt and McGregor hit the romcom bullseye, keeping things breezy and fun.

“Casa de Mi Padre” (R) — It must have been a fun idea to work with: Will Ferrell with a straight face playing the hero in a Mexican gangster melodrama. The result has a limited appeal. Even for people who “get it,” the schtick can only hold up for so long. Fans of Ferrell in “Anchorman” will be disappointed that this movie doesn’t have the same rapid-fire one-liners.

Ferrell plays Armando, a simple, kind man who works on his father’s ranch. His brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns to the family estate to introduce his fiancee (Genesis Rodriguez) and fix the family’s financial struggles. Trouble starts immediately when Armando falls in love with Raul’s fiance, and Raul turns out to be a drug dealer who has made a powerful enemy (Gael Garcia Bernal). The magic here is that everyone seems down with the absurdity.

“Friends With Kids” (R) — Two platonic friends Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) both want children, but they aren’t in love. They are blessed with an idea — conceive a child together, then raise it as two unmarried co-parents, free to find their own loves. Naturally, Jason and Julie’s married friends despise this little plot, which mirrors my feelings about the whole movie. The people involved are great; I just wish it wasn’t such a lame idea that brought them together. There are some laughs and a few authentic moments, but the trite plot device and sitcommy shine on everything make it hard to care.

“Get the Gringo” (R) — Mel Gibson plays a gravel-voiced tough guy who lands himself in a Mexican prison. As a gritty action hero, Gibson carries an odd sense of humor and a festering rage under a cracking facade. It’s very fitting. The movie is simultaneously grim and flippant, mean and nice. Rent this one out if you need a pulp action with plenty of one-liners and gun-toting baddies hunting a flawed protagonist.

“Eureka: Season 5”
“Leverage: Season 4”
“Sanctuary — The Complete Fourth Season”
“Alphas: Season One”
“Bonanza: The Complete Official Third Season”

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.