Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)

Here’s another movie where I had a ready-made review already written up, and my opinions of it haven’t changed.  It’s a little dated, but there’s so many awesome future big names in it, that it just surpasses any negative feelings one could have about it.  Hell, this time I noticed Jason Segel for the first time!  My old review:

Co-Directed and co-written by the crack teen comedy team of Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, Can’t Hardly Wait boasts a cast list of future character actors and future bouncing “Ghost Whisperer” Jennifer Love Hewitt. It also features a soundtrack of bands that, well… nowadays you might be a bit embarassed to have in your CD collection. Can you imagine someday in the future when that inevitable question will pop up from one of your kids: “Daddy, what’s a Smashmouth?” You’ll smile, shake your head embarassingly and tell them to go exercise on their Wii.

The premise behind CHW (as its fans refer to it) is fairly simple: it’s graduation day and everyone’s going to the big insane party at the Girl Whose Party It Is’ (Michelle Brookhurst) house. Now that school hottie Amanda Beckett (Hewitt) has finally broken up with meathead football hero Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli), everyone’s favourite nice guy Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) plans to finally reveal his love of Amanda to her (Note: Amandas will always break your heart in the end).  Preston’s best gal pal and borderline sociopath Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose) does her best to talk Preston out of foolishly putting his heart on the line. Try-hard white boy Special K (Seth Green) just wants to lose his virginity, and supernerd William (Charlie Korsmo) just wants revenge on Mike Dexter.

All of these combustible elements arrive at the same party, a party the likes of which you and I have never seen before. It’s a party where you’re thankful you can probably identify with at least one character, because you sure can’t identify with the actual party (unless these parties actually happen and everyone hates me and doesn’t invite me you fucking bastards!). Future C-list celebrities populate this party, and there’s a plethora of “HEY, it’s That Guy/Girl/Buffy Actor” moments. I’m sure there has to be at least one drinking game based on CHW and those have to be one of the “Take a shot!” moments.

The movie itself is fairly entertaining, though mostly in a car crash kind of way. There’s just so much going on, so many converging plotlines and cameo appearances to take note of, that the movie fails as a cohesive whole. Most of that can be blamed on the large amount of cuts the filmmakers had to make just to get this movie a PG-13 rating, which ultimately affects the overall quality of the film. This isn’t a timeless high school comedy by any means. It’s a high school movie that is relevant to a specific period of time and will be enjoyed most by people who were pop culturally cognizant at that time.

I would go so far as to suggest that this movie would benefit from an Unrated DVD release package, hopefully for a 10th Anniversary edition in a couple years. There’s a lot of storylines that could be fleshed out better in an R-rated atmosphere, much like the American Pie movies did. Those movies didn’t have to pull any punches or make any silly cuts to preserve a rating and they did monster business at the box office. For now though, the PG-13 rated version of CHW is still an entertaining hour and a half that will probably pleasantly or horrifyingly remind you of your own high school experiences.

3.5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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