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200 Cigarettes (1999)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres:
Comedy, Ensemble Film, Romantic Comedy, Urban Comedy
Director:
Risa Bramon Garcia Risa Bramon Garcia
Starring:
Ben Affleck Ben Affleck
Casey Affleck Casey Affleck
Jennifer Albano Jennifer Albano
Jenni Blong Jenni Blong
Morgan Brown Morgan Brown

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: July 14, 2009
Ben Affleck. Christina Ricci. Jay Mohr. Courtney Love. Paul Rudd. Martha Plimpton. Elvis Costello. Dave Chappelle. That's only half of the names in this ensemble cast, a large handful of which are pretty much household names. Going in, you can't help but have high expectations, but unfortunately, 200 Cigarettes doesn't quite deliver.

The plotline here might make your head spin, but try and keep up. The neurotic Monica (Martha Plimpton) is throwing a New Year's Party in her New York City apartment to ring in 1982. Her friend Hillary (Catharine Keller) is there, looking to get laid that night, and Monica is convinced her party is going to blow. Among the invites are slutty Lucy (Courtney Love) and Kevin (Paul Rudd), who's in the midst of an angry depression after being dumped by his girlfriend, Ellie (Janeane Garofalo). As the pair are pregaming at a bar, Lucy is trying to pick up the bartender (Ben Affleck) and gives him the address of the party. At the same bar, Bridget (Nicole Parker), with help from her friend Caitlyn (Angela Featherstone), is about to dump her boyfriend Eric (Brian McCardie), who just so happens to be Monica's ex, because he's horrible in the sack. As Eric storms off, Bridget and Caitlyn set about finding dates for New Years. Meanwhile, Jack (Jay Mohr) is planning on going to the party with Cindy (Kate Hudson), an insanely clumsy woman he had a one night stand with the night before. After finding out he actually took her virginity, he becomes obsessed with her, despite her being nerve-rackingly accident prone. Also, Monica's cousin, Val (Christina Ricci), and her friend, Stephie (Gaby Hoffman) are trying to get to the party, but have gotten horribly lost in one of the seedier parts of the city. These two high school girls from Long Island are trying to get back on track, but they've attracted the unwanted attention of two local punks, Tom (Casey Affleck) and Dave (Guillermo Diaz). Throughout the night, most of these people will end up in the backseat of a particularly laid back cab driver (Dave Chappelle) who above all, wants his patrons to slow down and enjoy life.

That just sounds like a jumbled mess, doesn't it? Well, it's not much better in application. See, there's really not any "main characters" here. Instead we just switch back and forth through the subplots, following each group knowing that all the individual stories are eventually going to wrap up together at Monica's party. Now, with that particular cast at your disposal Garcia should have been able to rustle up some quality scenes to pad out the running time, but that's not what we have here. What we do have a large number of forgettable characters running around doing nothing. As you watch this, it slowly dawns on you that this movie isn't going anywhere. And when it wraps up, that's exactly where it leaves you: nowhere. Sure, everybody put on a decent performance, (special nods to Ricci for that accent and Plimpton for her 'Feliz Navidad' dance), but they weren't the reason this failed.You can assemble the best actors to ever grace the screen, but they're still not going to be able to take this chicken shit script and make a chicken salad movie.

Surprisingly, the movie has picked up a small cult following. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you why; most "cult classics" are either "so bad they're good" or just so far off the charts they don't quite make the mainstream cut. 200 Cigarettes doesn't match either of those criteria, it's just a waste of an ensemble cast with no direction and no payoff. I'll admit there's some vague entertainment in watching all of these fuck-ups in action at once, Paul Rudd and Dave Chappelle's characters especially, but certainly not enough to warrant repeat viewings. 2.5/10
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 01/04/2013, 12:44 AM
Three years later it dawns on me that Christina Ricci played a Long Island chick with a Brookyln Accent. Go figure.
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