Can't Hardly Wait
Rating -

Comedy (US); 1998; Rated PG-13; 98 Minutes

Ethan Embry: Preston Meyers
Jennifer Love Hewitt: Amanda Beckett
Peter Facinelli: Mike Dexter
Seth Green: Kenny Fisher
Jerry O’Connel: Trip McNeely
Melissa Joan Hart: Yearbook Person
Jenna Elfman: Angel
Charlie Korsmo: Willaim Lichter

Produced by Karen Koch, Betty Thomas, and Jenno Topping; Directed and screenwritten by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"Can't Hardly Wait" is about high school seniors partying before their graduation as well as people who spend their last time together taking drugs, and anticipating the chance to lose their virginity. Judging from this description, "Can't Hardly Wait" is a clone of "Dazed And Confused," and a member of what I like to call the "getting-high high school party" genre. Unlike the regular entries, though, "Can't Hardly Wait" is a respectable effort that will make teenagers laugh and keep them entertained.

This small praise I have towards the film does not mean I have changed my standards. You will recall, from my reviews of "Dazed And Confused," that I find nothing funny about people making fools of themselves after taking drugs. This belief remains true, and it always will. The reason why "Can't Hardly Wait" gets a better review than "Dazed And Confused" is because the film doesn't rely much on drugs at parties, but rather, sex. Call me sick, but sex can be funny: drugs are not.

The downside, however, is that characters in this film are not very interesting. Watching this movie, I can't point out a single person who stands out from the others--each character is nearly identical: they either want something from another person, or want something to give to the other person. These points, in a movie like "Can't Hardly Wait," make the film dull and dreary.

What we have here is another vulgar attempt at the party genre, and it, too, fails. Still, I wouldn't call it bad; just standard stuff.

The movie stars the talented young Jennifer Love Hewitt, who we last saw in "I Know What You Did Last Summer." She plays Amanda Beckett, a woman who had just broke up with her boyfriend. Another guy begins watching her, and wanting her every second of every day. The only problem is they have never met.

Actually, the big problem is that the majority of the characters had never met each other before, thus creating an experience between them that is unique and original, and on the last day before their own graduation.

This is a simple plot, but in party movies, simple plots are the only thing to rely on, because most of the movie is spent partying.

The party is funny, too. Often, characters are seen on camera at the most inopportune times. For example, we meet this over-the-hill wacko on drugs, and at the site of Love Hewitt's character, he smirks and yells, "God, you're a hottie!" Doing this in front of several other people is something we would find rude in a real situation. Watching it on film, however, is funny--very funny.

There isn't as much humor in the film as there should be, however. In between these humorous lines is a series of arguments and conversations between characters, which are more flat than those of real life. It's because of these often-seen sequences that I only give "Can't Hardly Wait" two stars. If they were fewer, the film would have at least gotten two-and-a-half, and if the characters seemed more original, it would have been three stars.

Still, two stars is standard enough for it, because the film wasn't a waste. I laughed a few times, and for most high school teenagers, laughing will be enough to like the film more than I did.

© 1998, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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