That movie was not, unfortunately, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a film that floated around Hollywood for about 20 years before it finally appeared in theaters as a flat, lifeless, Americanized lump that was mostly hated by people who liked the book and loathed by people who hated the book.
Why? It wasn't funny. Forget the plot elements left out--you can't squeeze an entire novel into a 120-page screenplay. We'd have forgiven all of that if the movie had made us laugh. But, you knew from the opening musical sequence with the dolphins that things had gone awry. The type of person who would find the singing animals hilarious is not the type who would be on board with Adams' relentless, dark humor.
So what happened?
Comedy is hard. Really freaking hard. I know, I tried it, once. And, in a movie there are 1,000 little things that can ruin it--facial expressions, bad timing, the wrong edit. It takes an expert to do it right. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, meanwhile, was directed by a man (Garth Jennings) who had never previously directed a movie. Or, a TV show. Or, anything having sets or actors reading lines. He had no connection to anything having to do with comedy anywhere on his resume.
Hitchhiker's would have been a tall order for anybody, since most of the comedy was in the narrative language and descriptions, two things that don't come across on film.
No, this project needed a sharp eye, not somebody who would have Mos Def stiffly parroting passages from the book. It needed someone who would take the Douglas Adams attitude and run with it and take the movie we were expecting and give us something 10 times as insane.
Tim Burton maybe could have done it (though I wouldn't have thought so until Willy Wonka), and Terry Gilliam as well. But from the budget of the movie, I'm guessing they couldn't afford either one of those guys.
Me, I would have settled for Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright. Hell, he was even on set (playing a bit role as one of Deep Thought's technicians). They should have grabbed him and sat him in the director's chair. At least he had a TV show on his resume.