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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

IT can’t be a bad week when Seven is show­ing Legally Blonde for the 34th time ( Fri­day, 8.30pm). With the en­tire fe­male cast talk­ing in sopho­moric fan- mag cliches — ac­com­pa­nied by end­less pout­ing, sulk­ing, preen­ing, flounc­ing and flop­ping about — Reece Wither­spoon man­ages to come over as a real per­son. Elle Woods was her quin­tes­sen­tial, ca­reer- defin­ing role, and we love her for it.

Oth­er­wise it’s a choice be­tween As­tro­nauts ( Mon­day, mid­night, SBS), a Span­ish film about a would- be writer kick­ing his drug habit ( I know that’s a gross over- sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of the story’s many sub­tle tragi­comic over­tones), or The Astro­naut’s Wife ( Sun­day, mid­night, Nine), a Hol­ly­wood thriller in which Johnny Depp re­turns from a rou­tine shut­tle mis­sion car­ry­ing what may be an alien virus des­tined to turn him into Cap­tain Jack Spar­row. What hap­pened in those three vi­tal min­utes when the shut­tle lost con­tact with Earth? Can Char­l­ize Theron save the world? Don’t ask.

Depp turns up in an­other spooky one, Ro­man Polan­ski’s The Ninth Gate ( Sun­day, 12.10am, Ten), as a New York an­ti­quar­ian book dealer search­ing for a 17th- cen­tury satanic text, The Nine Gates of the King­dom of Shad­ows ( a se­quel, per­haps, to The Four Horse­men of the Apoc­a­lypse and The Inn of the Sixth Hap­pi­ness ). It seems the vol­ume may be help­ful when sum­mon­ing the prince of dark­ness, last re­vealed by Polan­ski in Rose­mary’s Baby , a much more un­set­tling thriller than this long, overdec­o­ra­tive ex­er­cise in meta­phys­i­cal mumbo jumbo.

In Dy­ing Young ( Fri­day, noon, Seven), Ju­lia Roberts is even more work­ing class than she was in Pretty Wo­man or Erin Brock­ovich , and Joel Schu­macher’s weepie is cor­re­spond­ingly trashier. Roberts plays an un­em­ployed sin­gle Catholic girl who gets a job as a carer for a mil­lion­aire’s son ( Camp­bell Scott) suf­fer­ing from leukemia. A sad blend of the mor­bid and the sen­ti­men­tal only partly re­deemed by Roberts’s nat­u­ral charms.

Now here’s some­thing. Ten is show­ing a rare Mel Brooks dou­ble on Sun­day af­ter­noon. The Pro­duc­ers ( 1.25pm) is his fa­mous spoof of the Broad­way the­atri­cal scene, with Zero Mos­tel and Gene Wilder stag­ing ( for their own de­vi­ous fi­nan­cial pur­poses) a dread­ful mu­si­cal called Spring­time for Hitler, which turns out to be a hit. It’s fa­mously funny and taste­less. In Robin Hood: Men in Tights ( 3.05pm), Brooks trashes the leg­endary do­gooder in what looks to be a camp send- up of Kevin Cost­ner’s Prince of Thieves . Plenty of throw­away gags, but not one of Mel’s best.

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