Bruce Fretts
November 20, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Can't Hardly Wait

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
100 minutes
performer
Lauren Ambrose, Ethan Embry, Seth Green, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddy Rodriguez
director
Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
genre
Romance, Comedy, Drama

We gave it an B+

It should have been the Scream of teen comedies — a smart, self-aware reinvention of an underappreciated cinematic genre. Instead, Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s Can’t Hardly Wait, like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything… before it, is a charming farce that underperformed in theaters but should attain cult status on video. That Thing You Do!‘s amiable Ethan Embry stars as a shy aspiring writer who decides to declare his love for his dream girl (Jennifer Love Hewitt, oddly adopting Party of Five costar Neve Campbell’s mannerisms) at a wild high school graduation party. Meanwhile, his platonic pal (sardonic, adorable Lauren Ambrose, a kind of junior Janeane Garofalo) hooks up with a homeboy wannabe (Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s hugely funny Seth Green). The film’s only false notes are heard on its inexplicably dated soundtrack; it’s doubtful the class of ’98’s party tapes include Tone Loc’s ”Funky Cold Medina.” B+

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