Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Great up-and-coming cast, light and fun movie

Lots of teen movie cliches but still fun

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Can’t Hardly Wait

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  June 12, 1988

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


I can’t feel my legs!

It is finally graduation day, and a huge house party is in the works. Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) has decided it is the day to tell Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) that he has loved her ever since he first saw her.  His introverted friend Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose) finds her night turned upside down when she’s trapped with her former best friend Kenny Fisher (Seth Green).  Jock Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) decides to dump Amanda, but also finds himself the target of a trio of geeks led by William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo) who want revenge for his years of torture.  It is going to be a wild night and everything might be different by the morning.


Barry Manilow will love you!

Written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, Can’t Hardly Wait is a teen comedy along the lines of ’80s teen films.  The movie had a modest success in the theater but has gained a cult following over the years partially due to the success of much of the cast after the film’s release.

Can’t Hardly Wait has a bit of a soft spot for me.  I was working at the movie theater when it was released and most of the cast was around my age.  It felt pretty topical at the time and now looking back on it, it has a nice nostalgia sense.


You guys are bitchy…

The movie is a throwback and has a lot of those party movie clichés.  The characters are rather stock characters, but the crafting of the story still makes it work.  It is light and fun and an easy movie to like.  You pretty much can see where the movie is going to go, but it doesn’t matter because it is a fast watch.

The cast of the movie was either hot or up-and-coming at the time.  Party of Five vet Jennifer Love Hewitt went on to The Ghost Whisper and Ethan Embry had been in a number of teen films.  The movie also has some fun crossover aspects.  Breckin Meyer and Donald Faison reunited from Clueless as members of Love Burger.  The movie features three Six Feet Under alums with Laura Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, and Eric Balfour.  Peter Facinelli went on to Nurse Jackie, and Charlie Korsmo was the child star of films like Hook and Dick Tracy.  The movie also features small roles by Jason Segel, Clea Duvall, Jamie Pressly, Selma Blair, Jenna Elfman, Melissa Joan Hart, and Jerry O’Connell.


Oh yeah…we’re always the sarcastic sidekicks…let’s just do it!

Stylistically, the movie is loaded to ’90s fun.  The movie has a great soundtrack (with its title taken from a song by The Replacements).  Despite some flashy editing, the movie looks more like something like Revenge of the Nerds or Police Academy and the end credits of the movie feel like National Lampoon’s Animal House with the future of the characters revealed.

Can’t Hardly Wait is the product of the period it was made and might make it harder for younger viewers to really get into.  The graduation themes do however hang true and it is a fun movie to look back on to see the people you knew in school.  That aspect of this film does make it a little endearing and can override the dated nature of some of the material.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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