200 Cigarettes is a 1999 comedy-drama film set at the New Year’s eve of 1981. It is one of those films with multiple characters with multiple life-stories intertwined with each other. It stars Ben Affleck, Elvis Costello, Kate Hudson, Jay Mohr, Christina Ricci, Paul Rudd, Martha Plimpton, Casey Affleck, Courtney Love, Dave Chappelle, Janeane Garofalo, Guillermo Díaz, Gaby Hoffmann, Catherine Kellner, Brian McCardie, Nicole Parker and Angela Featherstone. Numerous paintings done by Sally Davies are shown all throughout the movie.
The film starts with Lucy (Love) and her best friend Kevin (Rudd) on a cab driven by a so-called “Disco Cabbie” (Chappelle). Kevin is still hung-up on his ex-girlfriend, Ellie (Garofalo) and blames himself mostly for the break-up. To make things worse, it’s his birthday and he feels lousy than ever. The two first stop at a bar where they quickly become drunk; then at a diner, where they begin to reveal more-than-friendship feelings, thus agreeing to have sex with one another that evening. (For the record, there is a superstitious belief among the characters where one would remain celibate for the whole incoming year if he/she does not have sex on New Year’s Eve.) So there: Kevin and Lucy are at the restroom in the midst of foreplay when Ellie suddenly walks in and catches them in action. Ellie is enraged and walks out; Kevin and Lucy get into a fight; and Lucy flirts with a bartender (Ben Affleck) who she informs about a party organized by Monica (Plimpton).
Now Monica is throwing a big New Year party; the only fall-back is, nobody would seem to attend. The only person to have arrived is her friend Hillary (Kellner). With this, she draws up the conclusion that everybody hates her. Hillary decides to leave, (which alarms Monica) but agrees to come back by Monica’s promise to hook her up with Monica’s ex, Eric (McCardie). Unbeknownst to Monica, various individuals are all on their way to the party (they are just being held up by certain circumstances).
In one part of town, teenagers Val (Ricci) and Stephie (Hoffmann) are walking on the streets of Manhattan alone, in an attempt to locate Monica’s (Val’s cousin) party. These two are typical of teenagers: they lied to their parents, saying that they are spending the night at each other’s houses. Eventually, they get lost and wander into a punk club where they meet Dave (Diaz) and Tom (Casey Affleck), two punks who have a “package” they need to deliver. At first, Val and Stephie were terrified by the presence of the two punks, but later on, get along well, and agree to find Monica’s apartment and get to the party.
Meanwhile, the Cindy-Campbell-personality Cindy (Hudson) meets up with the afraid-of-commitment Jack (Mohr) for dinner. Both had a one-night stand the night before, and Jack discovers that he was Cindy’s first sexual experience. Jack becomes fascinated with this fact and questions her why she chose her to be her first. Their conversation dwells heavily on this fact, which irritates Cindy. In the course of their date, Cindy lands herself in a series of unfortunate events thus making her disheveled. With all the bad luck that has come to her, Cindy leaves Jack and heads for the party.
In the same bar where Lucy and Kevin are, are Bridget (Parker) Caitlyn (Featherstone) and Eric. Eric and Bridget are in a relationship however, when Bridget and Caitlyn go to the bathroom, Bridget confesses to Caitlyn that she is going to break up with Eric because he is extremely bad in bed. After the break-up on New Year’s eve, Eric goes to Monica’s party where he becomes the second guest to show up. As Monica almost breaks down, she must also deal with her ex by confessing to him that he is lousy in bed and why. Hillary returns to find a topless Eric–the two begin to flirt as Monica gets drunk and passes out.
In the scenes that follow, all the characters arrive, including the unknown bartender and the infamous “Disco Cabbie” (except Dave who was left passed out on a couch somewhere). Numerous people also show up, making Monica’s party a huge New Year’s bash indeed, and with the party host asleep to enjoy it. 😀
In the morning, we are cut to a shot of Monica waking up to a post-party messy apartment. Some people passed out and are everywhere, including Stephie who tells her what a big hit her party was. This excites Monica although she missed all the fun, especially when she found out that her crush Elvis Costello (who is he?) showed up. As the film finishes, we see whom everyone has ended up with: Jack is with Val (serves him right IMHO); Caitlyn is with the cabbie; Bridget is with the bartender (and I thought she hated him); Tom is with Cindy (What?!); Ellie is with Elvis; Hillary is with Eric; and Kevin is with Lucy (Obviously. Aw!). Before the film ends, there is a montage that shows party pictures and all the fun they all enjoyed.
The film was good–not boring because it prompts you to find out how it ends. I actually love movies of this type, numerous stories in one story. I did enjoy it, save for the storyline of the teenagers. He! He!