What do you do when an astoundingly bureaucratic star-faring race is about to destroy the Earth to put in a hyperspace bypass?
If you have friend who turns out to be an alien from Betelgeuse, you have only one choice: thumb a ride into the galaxy!
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", movie version, is the latest incarnation of a story that the late, legendary Douglas Adams first put on the airwaves many years ago. The movie is shorter, sweeter, and altogether a fun romp. It's definitely British in tone and style, but with a welcome addition of charming American humor as well. Also, remember that Douglas Adams himself wrote the screenplay, so you're getting all the important stuff that was in the previous versions.
Some diehard Adams fans will complain that this isn't the full story as told in the book. They should remember, though, that the book was only the *second* incarnation; the first was a serial radioplay broadcast by the BBC. As I remember, the *third* incarnation was a serial teleplay, also shown by the BBC (it was my introduction to the book!). So Doug had at least four chances to tighten the story to his liking.
Of all the characters, Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent does the best job, with Zooey Deschanel close behind as Trillian. In the books, they were important characters, but here they dominate. Yasiin Bey as Ford Prefect is a bit disappointing, and Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox (*The* Zaphod Beeblebrox? *The* President of the Galaxy?) is entirely out of place. The rest of the cast do well, with the late Alan Rickman doing a superb job as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.
I must give a big shout out to the Vogons, who have an expanded part in this version of the story. They're done in a very British style, and really help set the tone of the movie. However, as the "Guide" suggests, don't let them read poetry to you.
This movie is well worth watching if you can find it; you'll probably have to do as I did and buy a copy.
In summary, the answer is 42.