200 Cigarettes

1999, Movie, R, 94 mins

Review

200 CIGARETTES
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Though trifling to the max, this movie may score points with people who think an '80s revival can't come too soon. On New Year's Eve 1981, a cornucopia of types roam New York's East Village before converging on a party being thrown by prissy Monica (Martha Plimpton). Whiny, depressive Kevin (Paul Rudd) hates the forced jollity of New Year's, which is also his birthday, and has just split with domineering girlfriend Ellie (Janeane Garofalo), a performance artist. Kevin's slatternly friend Lucy (Courtney Love), who has a crush on him, is determined to get him to Monica's bash. Long Island provincials Val (Christina Ricci) and Stephie (Gaby Hoffman), jailbait squared, are headed there, too, or would be if they hadn't lost the address. They fall in with punk drug couriers Tom (Casey Affleck) and Dave (Guillermo Diaz), who scare and charm them. Klutzy uptown girl Cindy (Kate Hudson) is out on her first date with lothario Jack, whose grave misfortune it is that every women who sleeps with him thinks she's falling in love. Back-stabbing chippies Caitlyn and Bridget (Angela Featherstone and Nicole Parker) vie for the attentions of a handsome, proto-yuppie bartender (Ben Affleck). Monica, meanwhile, fretting that no one is coming to her party, tries to entice pal Hillary (Catherine Keller) to stay by using artist Eric (Brian McCardie) -- Monica's ex-boyfriend -- as bait. In a kind of Godardian twist, we never see the much-anticipated party, only a series of Polaroids. Alas, ridiculous haircuts and clothes can't compensate for the absence of real characters, which consigns much of the cast to cameo-like performances. And the movie fails to convey any of the chaotic energy that is New York on New Year's Eve. One consolation: the fabulous soundtrack, packed with '80s hits by Blondie, Elvis Costello and others. leave a comment --Sandra Contreras

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