Plot: Preston (Ethan Embry) has had a crush on his high school’s hottie Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) for as long as he can recall, but she’s always been taken. Now high school has ended and in an unexpected turn of events, Amanda has dumped her longtime beau Mike (Peter Facinelli). As college approaches and high school is left behind, a huge party looms and offers Preston one last chance to win over Amanda. At the same time, someone has plans for Mike as well, but not of the romantic type. No, school nerd William (Charlie Korsmo) wants to get revenge for those years of humiliation, but can he pull off his plan? At the party, just about everyone has their own plan, but will anyone get what they deserve?
Entertainment Value: This 90s teen comedy is loaded with performers who would go on to built impressive careers, but it is also a competent comedy and a concentrated dose of 90s nostalgia. The main narrative is hooked into an average guy’s quest to finally get a chance with the school’s hottest girl, but there are numerous other stories going on, of various sizes and depths. So even if you don’t connect with one of the prominent threads, you can probably at least relate to some of the characters or find yourself drawn into one of the side stories. No real new ground covered or boundaries pushed beyond the usual teen angst, coming of age stuff, but it is wrapped in a 90s package that refreshes some of the concepts a little. The pace is also brisk, which combines with the multiple narratives to ensure you remain hooked in, while the movie is also smart about when to switch focus and still wrap up the needed elements. Most of the humor works, with some fun dialogue and a host of colorful characters, though of course the script leans on obvious stereotypes and well worn teen comedy tropes. So while this isn’t that original, it is well made and populated with an impressive cast, so Can’t Hardly Wait easily earns a solid recommendation.
As I’ve said a couple times now, this movie boasts a remarkable cast of young talent and numerous performers went on to build good careers. Ethan Embry is the core of the prime narrative, but he has limited screen time, as the movie jumps around and keeps a number of stories active throughout. So he has enough time to do what he needs to do, but he is not around as much as most leads, while his romantic interest Jennifer Love Hewitt has even less time on screen. I did appreciate that the romance angles take some non traditional, non sappy approaches as well, with the main romance even given some nice turns at times. Peter Facinelli is well cast as the young, brash jock, while Lauren Ambrose is a highlight as the outsider who finds some connections, including a most unlikely one. There’s such a deep roster of colorful, humorous characters here, much more than you’d find in other movies, as the film takes the time to peek in on so many stories here. The cast also includes Seth Green, Jamie Pressly, Jerry O’Connell, Melissa Joan Hart, and Charlie Korsmo.
The Disc: Mill Creek’s 20th Anniversary Edition looks rock solid, with a bright and clean presentation. The movie shows good depth and detail, so a welcome improvement over the DVD editions out there. The bright colors in the visual design stand out, but the overall treatment is quite good. A nice assortment of extras is also included here, with not one, but two audio commentary tracks with cast & crew members, two promotional featurettes, a reunion piece, some deleted scenes, and of course, a Smashmouth music video as the cherry on top.