"200 Cigarettes" takes a look at a group of 20-somethings on New Year's Eve, 1981. Some are searching the streets for love, some are searching for a party, some are searching for the meaning of life. None of them is the least bit interesting. The film cuts back and forth between all of the seemingly tons of tiny subplots about as fast as an MTV video(and MTV did produce this). The groups all making their way towards a party range from two painfully annoying teens lost on the New York City streets(Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffman) to two friends who find themselves falling in love(Paul Rudd and Courtney Love). Somewhere in the middle of it all is the only remotely funny character in the film, a cab driver played by Dave Chappelle, on hand to lend advice.
The worst piece of the film is simply the dialogue. Line after line after line simply falls completely flat. There's no comedy to be found here, there's not even anything remotely witty. There's just a lot of swearing and it all becomes incredibly tedious. Boring dialogue coming from characters we couldn't care less about doesn't add up to anything at all. Definitely a bland and dull movie that I would bet that all involved would definitely like to forget about as quickly as possible.
Although "The Mod Squad", which I watched the week before, certainly looked like the worst film of 1999, "200 Cigarettes" certainly is worse. Not in memory have I seen a film where not one minute out of 90 contains anything of value.
The DVD VIDEO: Another very good anamorphic transfer from Paramount, who continues with their recent track record of delivering discs with solid image quality. Images are clear, clean and sharp, looking smooth and "film-like" with pure, well-saturated colors. Some scenes do look a little on the dark side, but I believe that it's more a matter of this film being made cheaply.
Contrast is fine and flesh tones are natural as well. It's really the colors that are quite enjoyable, looking vibrant throughout- especially on the streets of New York. There's no instances of shimmering or pixelization throughout, and the print used is clear, clean and free of scratches. This is a really nice presentation by Paramount of a not-so-nice film. Although this is a terrible film, I really hope Paramount can continue to produce discs with image quality this solid.
SOUND: Pretty uninteresting sound mix, with a lot of 80's tunes that aren't put to much use, sounding flat. There's little or no surround use, as well. Dialogue varies from sounding a little thin to sounding acceptable. The music could have been given more of a role, instead of staying in the background throughout.
MENUS: Basic non-anamated(but nicely designed) main menu.
EXTRAS: Not even the trailer. Well, if there's no extras, there's no extras grade.
Final thoughts: I think Paramount did a nice job with the transfer and their efforts on the disc quality deserve praise, but seriously- I don't recommend this film at all, not even for a rental.