Equal parts space spoof, English satire, and action-adventure, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a sci-fi comedy based on Douglas Adams’ best-selling novel, manages something remarkable — it mocks each genre equally. That whole plot about the placid Brit (Martin Freeman) who escapes the imminent destruction of Earth via spaceship in pursuit of life, the universe, and everything? It’s really just an excuse for Mos Def and Sam Rockwell to act all silly. Even with its tacked-on (and tacky) ending — not from the book — Hitchhiker still gets the thumbs-up.
EXTRAS Parodies of deleted scenes (Freeman screaming ”Do panic, motherf—ers!” is a classic) and a galactic version of hangman where depressed robot Marvin derides your every wrong guess keep the film’s wry subversiveness going. The pair of commentary tracks are trivia-laden (read: dull), though director Garth Jennings does cheekily admit during the popular singing-dolphin montage, ”I quite like this bit because I didn’t shoot any of the first five minutes of this film. The second-unit director did it.”