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+

Can't Hardly Wait
  • Movie
  • 100 minutes