Thumbs (and towels) at the ready: this adaptation of the late Douglas Adams' sci-fi classic is more than just "mostly harmless", it's bloomin' brilliant. Even if you don't know your Slartibartfast from your Babel Fish, director Garth Jennings' take on the travails and travels of Arthur Dent (The Office's Martin Freeman) as he hitchhikes through the galaxy after the demolition of Earth is instantly endearing. It should do for British sci-fi what Shaun Of The Dead did for British horror.
Capturing the wry absurdist logic of Adams' comedy, Jennings' movie delivers more laughs than a single viewing can tease out. Funniest of all is the Guide itself - an encyclopaedic PDA voiced by Stephen Fry - that Dent clings to as he's propelled into space by intergalactic journo Ford Prefect (Mos Def, a left-field casting choice, but perfect as Prefect). He soon finds himself onboard a spaceship with Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell, suitably annoying), Marvin the Paranoid Android (voiced despairingly by Alan Rickman) and Zooey Deschanel's sprightly Trillian.
"IT'S HARD TO SEE HOW THIS COULD BE BETTER"
The budgetary limitations of this sci-fi epic are glaringly obvious, but they simply add to the general air of joky tattiness. A running gag involves the spaceship's Infinite Improbability Drive's effects - in one delirious sequence the entire cast are turned into wool people. As Vogons read torturous poetry and white mice try to solve the mystery of life, the universe and everything, it's hard to see how this could have been better. Reserve us a table at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe now, please.