Although it's supposed to be a hip comedy, with a whole lot of unattractive young actors, "200 cigarettes" is nothing more than a cheesy "Love Boat" episode that takes place on land. Fuck that. It's not as good as a "Love Boat" episode because it's as predictable but with even less likable characters than Vicky Stubing.
It's New Year's Eve, 1981 and Martha Plimpton is throwing a party in her Manhattan loft. She's invited everybody she knows, but none of them show up. Why? Because they are scattered across the New York, trying to sort out their fucked-up love lives. Two girls from Long Island meet two sweet punks, an small-headed, drunken Irishman sorts out his sexual inadequacies, two newly single girls pursue the same men, two best friends discover they love each other, and a fluffy West End girl has her heart broken by an egotistical actor. Framing it all is an annoying Jimmy Walker looking cabbie who is wise to the ways of love.
While the young fuckwads sort out their love lives, Plimpton gets drunker than a skunk as she fret that nobody will show up. However, once her friends and uninvited party crashers sort out their problems, they head to the party. But Plimpton has passed out and misses the greatest party she's ever thrown. Oh, whee, what a fucking hoot.
"200 Cigarettes" is wrong for so many reasons that I will just put as many as I can on paper before I get mad and have to go punch one of the neighbor kids. First off, it's an amateurish, self-serving pile of steaming, maggot-infested shit. The writing reminds me of what two unfunny girls, educated in the ways of humor by "Three's Company", would giggle about during a gossipy lunch date. I can see them sitting there saying, "Oh my God, it would be so funny, if..." and then laughing hysterically with no concept that 1) most of the jokes have been told before -- on bad sitcoms, and 2) they aren't that funny, ladies.
The directing boosts the party mood about as much as a fellow who pisses in the punch bowl. Everything is so shrill and manic, and the stupid little problems of these yuppie-prototypes are given so much importance. The whole mess has the subtlety of a 300 pound, toothy tumor.
This flop is yet another in a long line of tedious masturbatory exercises where someone that grew up in the eighties thinks it's funny to point out that they were lame. In fact, "200 Cigarettes" doesn't even take a fresh look at the 1981. It has the same vibe I get off TV commercials for eighties compilation CDs. New Wave in itself isn't funny, ladies. You see, it's like you're trying to make a funny sandwich without any funny.
It's too fucking easy for uncreative moviemakers to look back and say, "Weren't we dorks?" as though that's all you have to do to get a laugh. Well, I for one was not a dork in 1981. I was the coolest fucking joe grilling hot dogs at the Wienerschnitzel. Here's an example of how trite this look back is: the film's "punk rock" bar looks like it came striaght out of a "ChiPs" episode; like some 60-year-old's idea of punk rock that he got by looking at a couple of album covers. I think the place is even called "Satan's Den" or something equally lame.
"200 Cigarettes" is stereotyped characters, living in a stereotyped 1981. The pricks are all so stereotyped and shallow their problems never meant squat. I mean, they bitch and moan about things that no audience in its right fucking mind would care about. I'm not saying they should be talking about world peace, nuclear treaties or any of that shit. But, I don't give a fuck whether the assholes get back to Long Island, or the two friends fuck each other, (like you knew they would right from the start). I just wanted them to shut up, leave the stage, and bring in some more attractive strippers or porn stars.
Straight across the board, the actors give their characters less personality than a jackknifed manure hauler. They are all given too much to say, and not enough of it is amusing. Christina Ricci gives the worst performance of her career as a shrill Long Island hag with no characteristics except for an accent thicker than her waist. Ha ha, aren't Long Island accents funny? No, they aren't you stupid fucking asshole moviemakers. Interesting characters are funny.
Courtney Love must be almost fifty, judging from her tattered and sagging skin. She's skankier than the three-legged chihuahua that's always trying to hump my dog, and she looks like she'd make a great research subject for the Center for Disease Control. Hollywood expects us to believe she is in her late twenties and attractive, and that's just another one of their unreasonable demands. Only Jeneane Garofalo escapes the movie unharmed, and that's because she isn't in it long enough to get on my nerves.
Okay, so we are set up with a variety of unlikable characters with problems that are less interesting than a recurring cold sore. What should the moviemakers do to salvage this mess? Haul the whole lot out back and blow their fucking brains out. But no! The pretentious assholes give us ZERO surprises. Not a single loser dies, nobody even breaks any bones. One girl gets dogshit on her jacket, but that's about it.
The only hope I have after seeing "200 Cigarettes"
is that the makers get cancer from secondary smoke. Or, they
get hit by a bus and die slow, painful deaths. Two lousy fingers
for the latest pile of horseshit in the Hollywood stable.
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.