Sitting through the long-awaited film version of Douglas Adams’ beloved book calls to mind another recent ambitious effort: last year’s “I (Heart) Huckabees.” Both have eclectic ensemble casts. Both mix complicated concepts with goofy physical comedy. Both have the courage to be just completely out there with wild ideas and images.

After a while, though, “Hitchhiker’s Guide” just feels like an onslaught of too much stuff – too many creatures, too many gadgets, too many elaborately absurd set pieces – all at the expense of character development and plot. Martin Freeman (from “The Office”), Mos Def, Sam Rockwell and Zooey Deschanel are among the wayward intergalactic travelers, with Alan Rickman providing the ideally droll voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android. Rated: PG for thematic elements, action and mild language. Running time: 107 minutes. Rating: 2 out of 4 stars.

– Christy Lemire, AP movie critic
‘XXX: State of the Union’

Ice Cube fills in for Vin Diesel in the franchise about a National Security Agency program to recruit the baddest of bad boys for the baddest of assignments.

The new movie is as preposterously plotted and outrageously combustible as the 2002 original, so action fans will come away with their fire-and-brimstone quotient well sated. Cube makes for a refreshing proxy, a more personable presence and better actor than Diesel. Samuel L. Jackson returns as the “XXX” puppetmaster who recruits Cube, an imprisoned ex-Special Ops hotshot, and puts him on the track of a hawkish Defense Secretary (Willem Dafoe) scheming to take over the presidency. The excess of silly action and explosions are made more cartoonish by phony digital effects.

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence and some language. Running time: 101 minutes. Rating: 1½ out of 4 stars.

– David Germain, AP movie writer

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