Entertainment picks: Hot rock and cool comedies

By Rebecca Barry Hill

Shortland Street returns this week having lapsed in real time, just like the contents of your fridge over the holidays. It seems things are getting edgy in the writing department, as tomorrow's episode focuses on a single storyline: where to for Tania and her sex-addicted ex, Mark?

Wednesday night kicks off TV3's impressive new line-up, with two of the year's most promising sitcoms. The Chris Rock-narrated biopic Everybody Hates Chris (Wednesday, TV3, 7.30pm) is a hit in the United States, despite an episode that gave parents a headache before Christmas when big brother told sis, "Everybody knows there's no Santa Claus".

My Name is Earl follows at 8pm, with Jason Lee as a loveable scumbag hit by a car at the exact moment he wins $100,000. While in hospital, he's left by his cheating bride (Jaime Pressly), and decides to right the wrongs in his life after seeing Carson Daly discussing karma on TV.

Next it's CSI: New York (8.30pm) which promises more glamour than its dark and dingy debut. The first episode features a multi-million dollar diamond bra, a devious model and a dead fashion designer. Detective Bonasera also investigates a "no brainer" after a guy falls off the Empire State Building and winds up with his grey matter on the footpath.

Also this week: the winner is revealed on Project Runway (tomorrow, TV3, 7.30pm), and Ashton Kutcher shows how much he's matured since Punk'd with his new dating show, Beauty and the Geek (Friday, TV3, 7.30pm). Hot chicks and geeky guys - where have we heard that before, dude?

50 Cent's semi-biopic, Get Rich or Die Tryin' opens this week, following the star's revelations the gangster-to-riches film is about 75 per cent true. But with pearlers like "I'd rather die like a man than live like a coward", we're hoping for his sake it's more like 50/50.

Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni resurrect the 70s comedy Fun with Dick and Jane, playing a wealthy couple who turn to crime after losing their income. Noting the film's hilarious theme of financial hardship, one critic compared it to The Grapes of Wrath.

Memoirs of a Geisha hopefully won't pull the wool over the eyes as the Arthur Golden novel did. Call me blonde but I was duped by the prologue, which said the book was based on the story of a real-life geisha. Said Golden in an interview, "I was working very hard to make it look like I didn't really write this book, it was just dictated by a geisha and I wrote it down." If you can get past the fact he made up most of it - and that there's a Chinese actress in the lead - you might enjoy it.

You've left it a bit late to pull a sickie on Friday but if all else fails, there's enough Big Day Out-related music this week to have you feeling as deaf as if you'd actually gone. On Thursday, Franz Ferdinand play a sideshow at the Transmission Room, and Sleater-Kinney play the Kings Arms with Teen Wolf. Those lamenting the lack of big names in the Boiler Room this year now that Mylo has pulled out can head to Fu Bar on Friday night for drum'n'bass don Andy C with MC Stamina. German techno DJ Andy Vaz plays Galatos with Simon Flower, Mike Geddes, Matt Drake and Miles Kuen. Otherwise, click the Big Day Out link below for a programme.

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