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Movie review: "200 Cigarettes"

Just in time for the new year, a review of the underwatched movie 200 Cigarettes.

Set in New York in 1981, the movie follows several people as the head to a New Year's Eve party and are sidetracked along the way. Monica (Martha Plimpton) is hosting the party and expecting all her friends to attend, but by 9:00pm she only has had her best friend and drunk Irish ex-boyfriend show up. Meanwhile, her Long Island cousin Val (Christina Ricci) with her best friend Stephie (Gaby Hoffman) are lost in the city and being followed by two punk rockers (Guillermo Diaz, Casey Affleck). Along the way we also meet Kevin (Paul Rudd) who is depressed because he has been dumped by his performance artist girlfriend (Janeane Garofalo), but is being nicely consoled by his friend Lucy (Courtney Love). Then there's accident prone Cindy (Kate Hudson) who is on a date with Jack (Jay Mohr) that isn't going as expected. 1982 is quickly approaching, hopefully they will be ready for it.

This movie had a lot of well known names attached to it, but was mostly overlooked. Some of the actors weren't well known at the time, but are big names now (Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, etc.) Also there's a great cameo towards the end that was surprising and funny. Although the story may sound confusing with so many characters to remember, the film actually blends together quite smoothly as everyone shares the common thread of getting to the party. Most of them also meet the disco cabbie (Dave Chapelle) who acts somewhat as a voice of reason for some of the characters.

The wardrobe and hairstyles are totally 80's and really help to the feel of the movie. The characters of Val and Stephie really help show the time with their big hair and heavy eye make up. The music also helps set the mood featuring songs from Blondie, Rick James, Elvis Costello, and Soft Cell. Also with the disco cabbie, there a feel for the nostalgia of 70's disco that some people just had a hard time letting go of.

200 Cigarettes is an enjoyable comedy to watch. It may not always be laugh out loud funny, but it'll leave you with a smile on your face.
 

*** 1/2 (3 1/2 stars)

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