A supremely-underrated 90s film. Can’t Hardly Wait tells the story of good/nice guy Preston Myers (Ethan Embry), who’s been in love with Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) since the first day of freshman year. Now, the last day of school, basically… Amanda’s longtime boyfriend (douchebag Mike Dexter, played by Peter Facinelli) breaks up with her, as he’s delusional about the “countless women in college.” Preston finally has his chance to tell Amanda how he feels, and the letter he wrote (and rewrote) to give to her.
The entire senior class is together at some uptight girl’s house for the grad party. The jocks, the nerds, the goths, the burnouts…. they’re all there. And Amanda comes alone… and doesn’t seem to have a lot of support, after getting dumped by Mike.
The entire film focuses on several characters in particular: senior William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo) is obsessed with having his revenge on Mike Dexter, for always picking on him. Then there’s Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose, later from Six Feet Under), Preston’s best friend. Denise is completely jaded and cynical, and hates basically everyone. She unluckily gets locked in the bathroom with rapper-wannabe Kenny Fisher (Seth Green, in probably his best role ever).
Then there’s Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina / Clarissa”) as the annoying yearbook girl who’s trying to get all 500+ seniors to sign her yearbook.
Who could forget the band (Loveburger) that can’t even keep it together for their debut gig (featuring Donald Faison from Scrubs / Clueless, and Breckin Meyer, also from Clueless, and Kate & Leopold).
The movie has its cheesy moments, sure… but, ultimately it’s insanely enjoyable… pretty heartfelt, and hilarious at times. Plus, the soundtrack kicks fucking ass (and the film’s score is by none other than powerpop legend Matthew Sweet).
Don’t sleep on it. If you graduated in the 90s, or the early 2000s… you can definitely relate to this film and its characters. Great writing, great cameos (Jerry O’Connell, Selma Blair, Freddy Rodriguez, Melissa Joan Hart, even Jenna Elfman)…. just great. This is one of the ONLY movies I saw twice in the theater, in 1998. That says a lot about its staying power. Worth your time.
Also, don’t sleep on Josie and the Pussycats (2001) by the same writers.