'Salmon Fishing' is surprisingly enjoyable

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 4:30 p.m. MDT

Ewan McGregor, right, finds it absurd to help a wealthy sheik, Amr Waked, build a reservoir in a desert to catch salmon. Ewan McGregor, right, finds it absurd to help a wealthy sheik, Amr Waked, build a reservoir in a desert to catch salmon.

Laurie Sparham, Laurie Sparham

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Movies arriving on DVD this week are led by a delightful eccentric British romantic comedy.

"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" (Sony, 2012, PG-13, $30.99, two featurettes). Based on Paul Torday's novel, this quirky yarn could have come out of the heyday of England's 1950s Ealing Studios comedies, with Alec Guinness in the lead role. Here, it's Ewan McGregor, and he's perfectly suited to the task.

McGregor plays a fisheries expert recruited by consultant Emily Blunt to help a wealthy sheik build a reservoir in the desert for salmon fishing, which McGregor finds absurd.

McGregor and Blunt's give and take, along with their slow-to-build romance, is most enjoyable, and the resolution provides a rousing finish. And Kristin Scott Thomas is a hoot as the hyper press secretary to the prime minister. (Also on Blu-ray, $35.99.)

"Friends With Kids" (Lionsgate, 2012; R for sex, language; $27.98, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers). Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who also stars, this is typical Hollywood unreality as two best friends (Westfeldt, Adam Scott) decide to have a child together but maintain a platonic relationship and date others. Right. Two other comic couples fill out the ensemble — Kristin Wiig and Jon Hamm, and Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd. (Also on Blu-ray, $39.99.)

"Extraterrestrial" (eOne, 2011, $19.98, in Spanish with English subtitles, short films, featurette, poster gallery). An alien invasion provides the backdrop for this snarky comedy, focusing on four 20-somethings in an apartment building, indulging in bad behavior when they should be planning their escape from an already evacuated town. Don't expect "War of the Worlds"; this is a minimalist character piece.

"Casa de mi Padre" (Lionsgate, 2012; R for violence, language, sex, nudity, drugs; $19.98, in Spanish with English subtitles, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, TV ads). Will Ferrell stars in this send-up of telenovelas as a simple rancher whose ranch is threatened by a drug lord. Off the wall and tasteless, which should please Ferrell's fans, with a surprising amount of bloody violence. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99.)

"Intruders" (Millennium, 2011; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $28.99, DVD and digital versions, featurettes, trailers). Clive Owen stars in this horror yarn about a demon terrorizing a blue-collar Londoner and his teenage daughter. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.99).

"4:44 Last Day on Earth" (IFC/Blu-ray, 2012, $29.98, trailer). The world is coming to an end and a couple in Manhattan (Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh) spend their last night eating Chinese take-out, calling their families to say goodbye and having graphic sex. An even more morose "Melancholia," if that's possible. (Also on DVD, $24.98.)

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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