My wife is still a punk rock kid at heart, so anything that influenced her during that time holds a special place for her. One such movie is 200 Cigarettes, which is pretty much New Year’s Eve with actors that were on the rise back in the late 90’s. It also happens to be one of those movies that she bought forever ago but lost after VHS tapes were no longer a feasible technology. She happened to find it while thift store shopping and then wanted to rewatch it ASAP. So we sat down last night and gave it a whirl. What sid I think?
I give it 6 “New Year’s hook ups” out of 10.
FOR THE INITIATED
As I mentioned earlier, it is an ensemble movie similar to the two Garry Marshall movies (New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day), so its not so much a story throughout but small vignettes peppered here and there. There is a guy who got dumped (Paul Rudd) and his lady friend (Courtney Love) who keeps is there for his birthday, a young naive girl (Kate Hudson) who had a one night stand with a jerk (Jay Mohr), an artist who is out with his girlfriend and her best friend, a bartender (Ben Afflec) who keeps getting stood up, and two friends (Christina Ricci was one) who are being followed by two punks (Casey Affleck and Guillermo Diaz). All of it centered around getting to one girls party (Martha Plimpton) at the last minute while she had a panic attack and a cabbie who drove almost everyone (Dave Chappelle).
The best parts aren’t necessarily in the movie per se, it is knowing what is in store for the actors down the road. Dave Chappelle’s cab driver is one of the first characters we meet and he acts just like someone out of the Chappelle Show. He is easily the highlight of the movie and steals every scene he is in, not to mention narrating the pictures from the party at the end. Then there is Paul Rudd who has barely aged and the Affleck brothers who don’t even get to share a scene, but they are all great in the small roles they have. Kate Hudson got to play one of her usual naive / clumsy rom-com roles, so of course she has that role down to a science. There are a handful of other comedians and actors that are great cameos and enhance the movie that much more as well.
While the story moved along at a quick pace, the movie suffers due to the lack of plot. Sure each character gets to say or express what they are wanting, but several just get tossed aside in hopes you remember them. Which is difficult since it bounces back and forth so much. Then again, that has always been my issues with the ensemble movies made up of vignettes. Sadly a few of the stories weren’t strong enough to stand on their own and would have been better as background stories in passing.
200 Cigarettes is a fun movie with a fair amount of nostalgia packed in. It is set in the early 80’s even though it was filmed in the late 90’s, but I couldn’t tell a difference. It would be a fantastic movie to throw on in the background when friends are over or you need a movie to fill a nostalgic niche. It is a fun movie worth watching if you haven’t seen it … but I wouldn’t say you need go out of your way to find it.
Another fun party movie with a similar ending is my recommendation this time: The Hangover. It restarted a trend for raunchy R-rated comedies since almost every similar movie afterwards was “The Hangover meets …” and spawned two sequels. Sure the sequels were cheap attempts to cash in on the same premise, but the original was fantastic. If you don’t know the story, it is a bachelor party gone wrong when the groomsmen wake up without the groom and no recollection of the night before. If somehow you haven’t seen it, go see the first one.