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200 Cigarettes

Starring: Paul Rudd, Courtney Love
Director: Risa Bramon Garcia
Genre: Comedy
Year: 1999
Rating: 2 / 5

Ben and Casey Affleck. Janeane Garofalo. Christina Ricci. Jay Mohr. 200 Cigarettes is a collection of some of the best known talent to spring from the "indie" scene, yet it fails to register as more than a blip on the comedic radar. Made at the end of the 1990s, 200 Cigarettes takes us back to New Year's Eve in 1981. We follow about a dozen young adults around New York City, as each person is looking for a certain hard-to-find party and the man or woman of his or her dreams. The ties that bind these seemingly disparate individuals are revealed slowly, though rarely with any true purpose. Focusing on these sex-crazed, self-centered adults, it is a wonder that 1982 ever came at all.

Kevin (Paul Rudd, the object of much of my viewing companions' drool) is a starving artist, recently dumped by live-in girlfriend Ellie (Janeane Garofalo). Needless to say, he is in a horrible mood, but longtime friend Lucy (Courtney Love) is determined to take him out on New Year's Eve anyway, as it happens to double as Kevin's birthday. Her goal is to take the two of them to a party that is being thrown by Monica (Martha Plimpton), a neurotic young woman whose only concern is the number of people who attend her party. As the time of this party draws near, however, it becomes painfully obvious to Monica that it is possible that no one will come.

Halfway across town, Jack (Jay Mohr) and Cindy (Kate Hudson) are also trying to get to the same party, though their circumstances are a bit more unusual. This is the couple's first real date, as, the night before, they met at a party that led to some nocturnal entertainment. As they deal with the ramifications of the night before, we see how truly mismatched these two are. At the same time, a local bartender (Ben Affleck) learns of the party through a chance encounter with the aforementioned Lucy, while two young punks (Casey Affleck, Guillermo Diaz) head there to deliver an unknown package. Throw in an omnipresent cab driver (Dave Chappelle), and there exists quite a motley crew.

200 Cigarettes is not what I would consider a bad movie, but it rather far from good. Precious few of the characters are likeable, with the exception of Ben Affleck's bartender and the ultra-smooth cab driver portrayed by Dave Chappelle. Most of the others are bland or downright annoying, characteristics epitomized in the characters played by Martha Plimpton and Kate Hudson. In 1999, at the turn of the century, studies showed that 75% of all Americans stayed at home rather than go out for New Year's Eve. After seeing 200 Cigarettes, I can finally see why.

Ben Affleck..........Bartender
Dave Chappelle..........Disco Cabbie
Kate Hudson..........Cindy
Courtney Love..........Lucy
Jay Mohr..........Jack
Paul Rudd..........Kevin
Christina Ricci..........Val

Certification: Rated R for language.
Running Time: 101 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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