Thoughts on 200 Cigarettes

Sunday, May 30, 2010 7:45 PM By Simon

-Okay, so, since many of you probably never heard of this movie--I only heard of it cruising Blockbuster looking to burn off a free rental I had and avoiding homework--this is about a bunch of people, all romantically troubled, wondering the streets of New York on New Year's Eve 1981, all heading for the same party, connected by a jive-talking, disco-loving cab driver played by Dave Chappelle. Courtney Love and Paul Rudd (right!?!) are two platonic friends dealing with unresolved sexual tension, Kate Hudson is a 19-year-old recently deflowered by womanizer cursed with all the women who he sleeps with falling in love with him (Jay Mohr, back when he was somewhat hot property in these kind of too-hip-for-you movies), Casey Affleck and Guillermo Diaz or punk dudes who start flying around town with two gratingly-accented, but wonderfully played, Ronkonkoma teens (Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffman, in garb that looks less like they live in the eighties and more like they're going to an eigthies-themed party) who have lost the address to one of their cousin's party (The Party, as it were). A whole bunch of others.

-Aside from some of the over-the-top costumes, this movie kind of emerses itself into the strangely random year its set itself at. The cultural bits aren't shouted from the rooftops, but mentioned in passing, with posters or TV shows or commercials really giving away the time period.

-Nonetheless, it was not very good. Amusing, sure, but a rather flat script left on the shoulders of the day's (1999's) hottest up-and-comers does not a good movie make. Despite spirited performances from Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Christina Ricci, and maybe Kate Hudson (everyone else gets honorable mentions, but don't do anything very extraordinary), it just flaps about uselessly, with characters either unbearably obnoxious or fucking boring. It starts up all these supposed plot points, then drops them, and you have things that sound like they should have been mentioned before. Like, one character, upon finding out that Elvis Costello had been at her party, freaks out, saying how her hero, her favorite musician of all time, had been there, and she missed it. Now, this is totally random, and I think them might've cut a scene out explaining this, because it's the sort of thing that should be mentioned again for comedic effect, at least.

-You could do worse. It's no offensively bad.


The Taxi Driver said...

I remember seeing this back in the 90s and hating it. Can't remember why, but based on your reaction I don't think I'll be running out for a refresher.

May 30, 2010 at 8:50 PM
Robert said...

I'm really intrigued based on the cast, especially Garofalo, so I might check it out if I've nothing better to do some night. :)

May 31, 2010 at 6:25 AM
Luke said...

The cast seems really interesting - I can't help but love Christina Ricci (because of Addams Family and Casper) even though she so often drops the ball in terms of performances. Sounds badly good.

May 31, 2010 at 11:04 AM
CMrok93 said...

Looks alright, just a bit too cheesy.

June 2, 2010 at 4:46 PM