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Can't Hardly Wait (1998)

tomatometer

40

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 35

Occasionally clever and moderately intelligent, Can't Hardly Wait also contains too many cheap laughs, recycled plotting, and flat characters.

38

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 10

Occasionally clever and moderately intelligent, Can't Hardly Wait also contains too many cheap laughs, recycled plotting, and flat characters.

audience

64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 82,111

My Rating

Movie Info

After the Huntington Hills High graduation ceremony, the fun gets underway at the graduation party where an assortment of jocks, geeks, prom queens, bimbos, headbangers, and nerdy misfits unload four years' worth of emotional baggage at a house where the hostess (Michelle Brookhurst) loses control of her guests. Writer wannabe Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) has been in love with Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt of Party of Five) since the first time he saw her during their freshman year. His tormented

PG-13,

Comedy

,

Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont

Nov 17, 1998

Columbia Pictures

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All Critics (58) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (35) | DVD (15)

Kaplan and Elfont provide a real public service by showing how underage binge drinking can boost bookish students' social lives.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fortunately, some of the appealing young performers -- who include Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose and, especially, Seth Green -- manage to emerge from the film's generic suburban-teen backdrop.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are signs that Can't Hardly Wait once had more serious aspirations... But in the final edit, at least, it's the dumb, broad slapstick that prevails, short-circuiting identification with the characters before it can begin.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The majority of the film is mired in magazine cliches and tired gags. Oh, look, the foreign exchange student only knows how to say he's a sex machine, haw! And the nerd's getting drunk! Hoo!

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A high-spirited, synthetically raucous house-party comedy.

August 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not supposed to be a revelation--just a pleasant rendition of a teen-comedy trope.

August 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This formula teen flick has engaging performances and a few laughs.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

What's best about Wait are the bright turns by its young cast.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The film deserves credit, both for its breezy pacing and its uncommon tendency to make its characters smarter and geekier than they might have been.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club

Flat characters are stuck in underdeveloped situations in this attempt by first-time directors Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont to recapture the mood of a John Hughes 1980s teen comedy.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

This charmless and predictable teen comedy is packed with tired, second-hand ideas that render it wholly uninspiring.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's mostly broad comedy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just that it's all been done before.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Youth may be wasted on the young, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the time wasted pandering to them.

March 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Can't Hardly Wait offers nothing that its predecessors hasn't, but has possibly broken new ground in terms of underage drinking and teen sex.

January 7, 2009 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It's all cutely derivative, occasionally charming and very occasionally clever.

August 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A decidedly healthy antidote to the hate-driven, ghoulishly cynical bloodlettings of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and the rest of that sick ilk.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

There just isn't any sparkle in any of the lead perfs.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Less of a movie and more a collection of 1980s teen movie cliches.

October 12, 2004 Full Review | Comments (2)
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Can't Hardly Wait

Decent Teen comedy, but nothing ever great, Can't Hardly Wait is one of those films that could have been better, but still has enough charm to really make it a fun film to watch. The film is quite forgettable, but manages to be fun for the time you're watching it. However it does not stand out among other Teen comedies. Can't Hardly Wait is mindless fun, but lacks anything to really make it memorable. For what it is, it works, but is far from films like Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The film could have been much better and though is fun entertainment, it never becomes anything but mindless and sometimes dull entertainment. I think this film could have been reworked significantly to make it a much better film, and it's a shame that the film is never anything truly good or memorable. The film is simply a decent viewing. The film has some good gags, but most of the time, they fall flat and don't go nowhere. If the script would have been more developed and some parts would have been recast, then maybe this film would have been better. As a whole, the film offered some laughs, but I just felt that the story lacked too much, and really didn't offer anything new to the genre. Despite this fact, this is a fun, mindless film that has its moments despite the fact that it's a decent teen comedy. I didn't hate the film; I just feel it could have been much better. If you're looking a mindless entertaining ride, Can't Hardly Wait is worth seeing, just don't expect anything great with this film. The film does provide good laughs even if it's not a classic by any means.
June 28, 2012
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Let's face it: though we all grew up with this genre, and love the gems such as Dazed and Confused and 10 Things I Hate About You, there are films trying way too hard. One of these nineties underachievers was Can't Hardly Wait, a title that already exacts a feeling of bland indifference, which is what you feel when you watch it. There are some pretty funny moments, but they're most on account of Seth Green, because he's so pathetically human, and Charlie Korsmo: If his face looks familiar, it's because he played Robin Williams' son in Hook, and strangely puberty has not lent a helping hand. He's the most nerdy, drunken, kooky figure during this intensely raging high school graduation party, and the most enjoyable character of the entire film. Threading through the shifting comedy are the subplots of an unrequited love between nobody Preston (barely showing up onscreen throughout this film) who has, quite literally, no discernible character traits, and a popular girl. We also get an eyeful of a youthful Jennifer Love Hewitt, a pre-Twilight Peter Facinelli, and a long list of cameos, including Selma Blair, Jason Segel, and Melissa Joan Hart as a peppy girl obsessed with everyone signing her yearbook. It didn't make a lot of headway, and was in no way original, but I did really enjoy the side story of Green and Ambrose's characters and their past, though under scrutiny it doesn't make much sense or matter.
September 6, 2011
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

I've seen much better teen films, any 80s teen film for example. This movie has a bunch of bad actors, and it's not funny. I didn't care for it.
August 11, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

It stagnates quite a bit, and J Lo Hew does pretty much what she always does (stand there), but there were some stories that stood out. Notably the Denise one.
May 1, 2011
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

    1. William: Hey! I know this song. The guy I tutored in math used to make me listen to it.
    – Submitted by Ann A (13 months ago)
    1. Denise: Do you know what your problem is? It's like you're afraid to move forward. Now why do you wanna go to this party tonight and look back? Don't look back. You should never look back.
    – Submitted by Nigel N (22 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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