HDTV Movie Highlights: April 10-16

Night at the Museum: TV3, 8.30pm Saturday.

It must have been a slow day at the office when Ricky Gervais agreed to star in this musty comedy. That’s not to say Night at the Museum is less fun than a day at Te Papa but the writing and performances fall disappointingly short of the inventive visual effects and jumbo Jumanji possibilities. Gervais plays the bumptious boss of a natural history museum that’s on the verge of extinction when it lays off three geriatric nightwatchmen and replaces them with a dreamer (Ben Stiller) who’s unaware of its dark secret: at night the exhibits spring to life and wreak havoc. What could have been a wildly funny creature feature treat, with a cast of living treasures that ranges from Robin Williams to Dick Van Dyke, is turned into a tame, fitfully amusing romp that’s more about milking sentimentality than imagination or talent. (2006)

Rachel Getting Married: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Saturday.

Anne Hathaway was deservedly Oscar-nominated for her revelatory performance as a prodigal daughter with a tragic past who gets out of rehab to be her sister’s maid of honour in this dysfunctional family drama that’s powerful and maddening. The escalating tension is masterful and the trenchant screenplay by Sidney Lumet’s daughter, Jenny, painfully perceptive. But such is director Jonathan Demme’s knack for making you feel part of this insufferable wedding party that you may want to leave early. Debra Winger co-stars. (2008)

Back to the Future: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Dazzling iconic escapism starring Michael J Fox as a youngster who, with the help of mad-as-a-hatter scientist Christopher Lloyd, zips back in time to meet his parents as teenagers. It’s a Hollywood milestone with everything – wit, romance, adventure, fantasy, even a touch of the Oepidals. Robert Zemeckis (A Christmas Carol) directs. (1985)

The Darjeeling Limited: TV3, 9.45pm Saturday.

The idiosyncratic signature of writer-director Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr Fox, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) is writ large in this off-the-beaten-railway track comedy that’s as enigmatic as it is entertaining. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman play estranged brothers who wrestle with reconciliation on a spiritual train trip across India to find their reclusive, newly widowed mother (Anjelica Huston). The second half doesn’t hold up as well as the fabulous first but the eccentric shenanigans and divine photography make Darjeeling just the ticket for those jaded with Hollywood. (2007)

The Boat That Rocked: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Think Titanic meets Top of the Pops for this ensemble comedy about pirate radio in ‘60s Britain. Set on a ship of foolish DJs in the North Sea that Westminster wants to sink, it’s too long and corny but is buoyed by a crowdpleasing cast that includes Flight of the Conchords’ Rhys Darby and a seminal, pop music soundtrack. Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) directs his own screenplay; Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Nick Frost co-star. (2009)

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

True confession: I loved My Best Friend’s Wedding so much I would rank it among the top 10 romantic-comedies of all time. But director PJ Hogan’s first rom-com since then is dire enough to be one of the 10 worst. It stars Home and Away’s Isla Fisher as the deep-in-credit card debt writer of a personal finance column for a struggling magazine whose editor (Hugh Dancy) excites her as much as a sale at Gucci’s. Girls too young for Sex and the City might like Shopaholic but everyone else risks watching it through pursed lips (although the glossy colours shine in HD). (2009)

Bruce Almighty: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Friday.

Jim Carrey finds God but not a lot else that’s funny in this sermonising comedy about a frustrated TV reporter who gets to be the Big Guy for a day — and learns there’s more to life than ego and power. A clumsy pastiche of the spiritual and the slapstick, Bruce Almighty has its classic Carrey-esque moments but not even he can work miracles with a mediocre script that’s more mawkish than mischievous. Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston co-star. (2003)

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