HD Highlights: August 5

Sky Movies Premiere: Friends With Benefits (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) Can friends be uncomplicated lovers, too? Easy A’s Will Gluck directs Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. “This coasts along just fine thanks to charm and comical interludes,” said Empire “but it fails to deliver the sassy story it promises” While The Hollywood Reporter thought it “goes a long way in bringing sexy back to a soggy genre, benefiting greatly from the presence of its likable leads”, Village Voice said “what’s most crushing is witnessing what should have been the dream pairing of Kunis and Timberlake – both foxy, loose, confident performers – here generating zero chemistry.” (2011) ✭✭✭

Sky Movies Greats: The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Sky 22, 8.30, 5.1) “Die, you mummy bastards, die!” The third in the Mummy series is more fun – and preposterous – than its predecessors, with husband-and-wife adventurers Ricochet and Evelyn O’Connell (Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello) teaming with their son, Alex (Luke Ford), to thwart a resurrected Chinese emperor (Jet Li) from taking over the world with his army of the dead. Yes, it gets even sillier but the unflagging action, spectacle and humour make the two hours fly by faster than a three-headed winged lizard (don’t ask). ✭✭✭✩

Girls vs Boy (TV2, 5.00)  Tim attempts to serenade his way back into Hailey’s heart; Jake and Grayson become honorary women; more shock video footage is released turning the community against Max. ✭✭✭

Hart of Dixie (TV2, 5.30, 5.1) Series premiere: A New York City surgeon adjusts to life in a small, Southern town as a general practitioner where the odds are against her. Variety called this newcomer from The OC creator josh Schwartz “so silly and lightweight it might possess unexpected appeal for its sheer camp factor, as well as the opportunity to see the South depicted as a place as exotic as the dark side of the moon.” But the Philadelphia Inquirer said “the cast and crew succeed in making the sugary sweet illogic palatable, if not a gourmet delight.” ✭✭✭

The Zoo (TV One, 7.00) Spend a day in the life of the zoo’s oldest resident, Janie the chimpanzee; giraffe Jelani finds his sea legs; the keepers rescue wild birds after the Rena oil spill disaster. ✭✭✭✭

The Big Bang Theory (TV2, 7.00, 5.1, R) Sheldon teaches Leonard how to understand football, and a kite-flying incident threatens Howard and Raj’s friendship. ✭✭✭✭

Modern Family (TV3, 7.00, 5.1, R) It’s the first day back at school for the kids, and Phil misreads how Claire is coping with an empty nest. ✭✭✭✭

Sunday Theatre: Audi NZ Season – Nights in the Garden of Spain (TV One, 8.30, R) A successful Maori businessman married with two children jeopardises his iwi mana when he wrestles with revealing he’s gay. Nights in the Gardens of Spain is a solid dramatisation of Witi (Whale Rider) Ihimaera’s novel, with largely fine performances, but labours its cultural credentials and compromises its themes with contrived outcomes. Katie Wolfe directs Nothing Trivial’s Calvin Tuteao, District 9’s Nathalie Boltt and Kaitangata Twitch’s George Henare. ✭✭✭✩

Movie: I Love You, Man (TV3, 8.30, 5.1, R) Quipped Entertainment Weekly of this comedy about a friendless groom-to-be who embarks on a run of “dates” to find a bloke he can bond quickly enough with to be his best man: “By far the best Judd Apatow comedy that Judd Apatow had nothing at all to do with.” John Hamburg, who scripted Little Fockers, directs his own screenplay; Paul Rudd (Role Models), Rashida Jones (Cop Out), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and JK Simmons (The Closer) star. (2009) ✭✭✭✩

Homeland (TV3, 10.30, 5.1, R) The political powers that be make big plans for national hero Brody, but his increasingly erratic behaviour threatens his media-darling status. ✭✭✭✭✭

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