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200 Cigarettes

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: 200 Cigarettes

Starring: Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck
Director: Risa Bramon Garcia
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie review
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6.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

This MTV-production revolves around frantic, fateful New Year's Eve party in 1981 in a downtown loft in the funky East Village, where the lives of various young couples and friends intersect. Anyone who has ever spent a dismal New Year's Eve with strangers - virtual or otherwise - can relate to their depressing and desperate angst. Risa Bramon Garcia, a highly respected casting director, makes her directorial debut so, predictably, despite the modest $6.5 million budget, there's a star-studded cast, like Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffman as wannabe groupies from suburban Ronkonkoma, Long Island, lighting up with Paul Rudd and Courtney Love, two platonic friends who agree, if all else fails, to have sex with each other. Jay Mohr, Casey Affleck, and Brian McCardie cruise the crowd as Ben Affleck plays bartender. Goldie Hawn's daughter, giggly Kate Hudson, makes her feature film debut as an awkward Upper West Side princess, prone to pratfalls, but, nevertheless, holding her own with Martha Plimpton, as the sad-sack hostess, Dave Chappelle as a slick disco taxi-driver, and Janeane Garofalo in a cameo. Ms. Garcia describes the filming as "a revolving door of actors, coming in and doing their bit and leaving" - and it looks it. Despite the fact that an appropriate early '80s song underlines each scene, there's not much to Shana Larsen's unstructured script and dreadful dialogue, particularly when you realize that AIDS will bring this kind of promiscuity to an end very soon. So, as a result, all these actors have very little substance to puff on. Or, as Paul Rudd concludes, "We use cigarettes as a shield against relating to each other." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "200 Cigarettes" is a vapid, clumsy 3, making you long for the morning after to come quickly.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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