200 Cigarettes, Directed By Risa Bramon Garcia (Paramount Pictures)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin

200 Cigarettes
Directed By Risa Bramon Garcia
Paramount Pictures
By: Eric G.

The setting is New Year's Eve 1981, a year that holds no significance to the movie's story other than to justify all the retro-hype, which is so poorly displayed here that people who actually lived through this era would hardly recognize it if it weren't for the glaringly obvious soundtrack. Even the presence of the man himself, Elvis Costello, doesn't give this meandering waste the foundation it needs to work.

Garcia plods through a series of uninteresting yet linear story lines that all converge at a party, trying to capture that Sixteen Candles or Fast Times At Ridgemont feel. The teen movie machine may be the current trend, but this is just so boring-even the kids who flock to the theater at the mention of 80's nostalgia will have a hard time with this lifeless picture. And sadly, the best line in the previews didn't even make the final cut when Ben Affleck's character is hitting on two women in a bar: "Do you guys like Devo? And by the way, I'm not gay. I get that all the time."

Martha Plimpton and novice Kate Hudson (daughter of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) are the only redeeming features of this film. Plimpton's energetic, ultra-paranoid performance as a complex trendsetter in love with Elvis Costello is the backbone of the film's events as she anxiously awaits any guests to her party and Hudson's charming portrayal of a dimwitted dullard radiates on screen. Even veterans like Janeane Garofalo and Courtney Love do little to liven up this poorly written screenplay. Both of their characters fall into an unfortunate form of typecasting: Garofalo as a tough, cynical heart-stomper, and Love as a trashy whore trying to make good.

Once you realize MTV Productions had a hand in the development of this picture things start to make sense. Only MTV would base a movie on a hip retro soundtrack. The story is clearly secondary. Plus, throw in some remakes by current one hit wonders and you've got calculated MTV product. All the gratuitous promotion in the world, though, isn't going to save this lame flop.

Tags: review