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Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green
Writing Credits:
Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont

Multicharacter teenage comedy about high school graduates with different agenda of life on graduation night.

Box Office:
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$8.025 million on 1987 screens.
Domestic Gross
$25.339 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 9/30/2008

• Audio Commentary with Directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, Producers Jenno Topping and Betty Thomas and Actor Seth Green
• Audio Commentary with Directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan and Actors Seth Green, Donald Faison, Peter Facinelli and Joel Michaely
• “Special K’s 411 Track Yo’” Subtitle Commentary
• “Huntington Hills Class of ’98 Reunion” Featurette
• “Can’t Hardly Wait: The Making of a Teen Classic” Featurette
• “The Life of the Party” Featurette
• Six Deleted Scenes
• Smash Mouth Music Video “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby”
• “You Know You’re ‘90s If…” Trivia Game
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Can't Hardly Wait [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2016)

After I reviewed the abysmal Josie and the Pussycats back in 2001, I read other folks’ reviews and learned some details about the DVD for Can’t Hardly Wait, another flick from Josie’s directors. Though my dislike for Josie should have dissuaded me from any interest in their other work, one element of the DVD intrigued me: I heard it had a terrific audio commentary. Since I’m a huge fan of those tracks, I decided that I needed to give Wait a look.

The biggest downside of this choice stemmed from the fact that I needed to actually watch Wait before I could enjoy the commentary. Based on my experience with Josie, this prospect didn’t delight me. However, while Wait failed to thrill me, I found it to offer a reasonably witty and entertaining teen comedy that kept me moderately interested.

Wait focuses on the evening after graduation for some high school students. All of the action revolves around one big party that follows this event.

The film boasts a huge roster of participants, but some main characters evolve. Most touted are Mike (Peter Facinelli) and Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt), the allegedly perfect couple who broke up on graduation day after four years together. An arrogant jock who dreams of grander pastures with college women, Mike dumped Amanda so he could play the field. This humiliates her to a degree, but matters eventually backfire when Mike discovers that single life isn’t as hot as he imagined.

While this matter upsets Amanda, it elates Preston (Ethan Embry), the slightly-dorky dude who has dreamed of her ever since she came to their school in ninth grade. After four long years, he finally sees his chance, and he pours his heart into a much-refined letter meant to attract her. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a wimp, and he dilly-dallies through much of the film until he can finally muster the courage to deal with her.

Preston’s cynical friend Denise (Lauren Ambrose) has issues of her own. She confronts these with Kenny (Seth Green), one of the school’s wannabe black kids; Kenny’s as white as they come, but he feigns street attitude and garb, all of which make him feel like the baddest of the bad. Unfortunately for him, none of the girls at the party agree, and his oft-stated desire to get laid goes nowhere.

However, in an attempt to get back at her cheating boyfriend, one tipsy female says she’ll do Kenny. He needs to purge his bladder first, however, an enterprise that ends poorly when Denise accidentally locks the two of them in the bathroom. There they discuss their estranged relationships; they’d been close in younger days but he ditched her to seem cool once they hit middle school.

Rounding out our main roster is William (Charlie Korsmo), a serious nerd who wants to get revenge on Mike for all the nasty things he did to him over the years. With his dorky friends, William conjures a plan to humiliate Mike, but he gets badly sidetracked along the way. He downs a few beers to fit in, but this loosens him up and makes him behave in unusual ways, all with interesting results.

Although Can’t Hardly Wait tries to include some “coming of age” aspects, its heart isn’t in this form of introspection. Instead, the film works best as a giddy romp through a rowdy party. The movie flits rapidly from character to character, and the camera rarely remains still. Instead, it prefers a “fly on the wall” attitude that combines a number of storylines within one spastic package.

For filmmakers like directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, this is the best way to go. As demonstrated during Josie, their talents don’t suit movies that try to have any particular message or point, so Wait works most effectively when it simply provides a gleeful skewering of high school cliques and stereotypes.

Because of that, the flick’s first half seems most compelling; the second segment tries to get deeper, but these attempts generally fall flat. Granted, they were expected for this sort of film, but they still didn’t come across particularly well. At times, it appeared like they wanted to make an updated version of American Graffiti, but such aspirations were beyond the directors’ reach.

However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t make a fairly fun and entertaining little romp. Wait succeeds best when it flits about rapidly. Once the movie sticks with any single subject for too long, it becomes somewhat tiresome and bland. The chaos of the situation is its strongest aspect, and the film seems most entertaining when it takes advantage of that.

Ultimately, not much about Can’t Hardly Wait sets it strongly above its teen brethren, but I must admit that it definitely is a better flick than most in the genre. It suffers from some of the usual pitfalls, and it can be slow-paced and dull at times, but the moderate satire found in its portrayals allows it to become fun and witty at times. In the end, Can’t Hardly Wait offers an enjoyable little flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Can’t Hardly Wait appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image looked better than expected.

Sharpness seemed positive. No one would refer to this as a super-tight picture, but that reflected the source. Overall delineation seemed pretty accurate and concise. No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. No source flaws marred the presentation.

The flick went with a natural palette, and the tones came across as reasonably full. I wouldn’t call the hues vivacious, but they appeared pretty peppy. Blacks were fine, and shadows appeared smooth and clear. I thought the movie offered a nice transfer.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Can’t Hardly Wait, it provided a surprisingly immersive affair that used all five channels to reasonable effect. Music accompanied most of the movie, and the songs blasted cleanly from the speakers. The tunes showed good differentiation among the channels and they added a nice element to the mix.

Effects and dialogue also showed up in the side and rear speakers, and they became a good complement to the action. A fair amount of speech emanated from the individual channels, an aspect of the mix that cropped up neatly during the film’s opening sequence; as unpictured teens set up the movie’s actions, their voices came from all around us. Effects also used the different speakers well, as these elements created a solidly realistic and convincing environment that blended together well.

Audio quality also seemed to be fairly good. Some speech displayed modest edginess, but most of the dialogue sounded acceptably warm and natural, and I detected no problems related to intelligibility. Effects were distinct and accurate, and they showed no signs of distortion or other concerns.

The many tunes played in the movie also fared well. They displayed good dynamic range, with clean highs and reasonably low and rich bass. Ultimately, Can’t Hardly Wait provided a solid auditory experience that worked nicely for the film.

How did this Blu-ray compare to the 10th Anniversary DVD? Audio seemed a bit warmer and fuller, but visuals showed the most obvious improvements. I thought the DVD looked mediocre, whereas the Blu-ray was much tighter and more natural.

The Blu-ray replicates the Anniversary DVD’s extras, and we start with two audio commentaries. From the original 1998 DVD, the first presents directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan plus actor Seth Green and producers Jenno Topping and Betty Thomas. All were recorded together for this running, screen-specific affair. Note that Thomas doesn’t enter until about 55 minutes into the commentary.

Based on what I read elsewhere, it was Green’s contribution that promised to offer the most fun. At the start of the track, he speaks with a British accent for no apparent reason. This provokes a couple of remarks from the others and he stops after a fairly brief interval.

This aspect of the commentary disappoints me because I hoped Green would carry his gag to a greater extreme. The sheer weirdness inherent in his decision delights me, and based on what I read elsewhere, I thought he’d continue to annoy the others to a much greater degree. As it stood, the accent wasn’t much of an issue, and it took little for him to cease. I was seriously disappointed when he quit.

Despite that letdown, I really like this track. The commentary for Wait is easily one of the whiniest I’ve ever heard, but I mean that as a compliment. The vast majority of these recordings offer far too much happy talk and praise. To be certain, we hear a little about how talented some of the participants were, but for the most part, this delivers a gleefully crotchety track.

Throughout the piece, the speakers tell us what they did wrong and pointed out errors. They also discuss all of the changes they had to make to get their “PG-13” rating, and they clearly wish that these hadn’t occurred. They rag on each other to a degree, and they spill dirt about absent collaborators. All of this gets wrapped in a lively, coherent package that rarely ceases to be entertaining and irreverent.

We also get a “10 Years Later” commentary with Elfont, Kaplan, Green, and actors Donald Faison, Peter Facinelli and Joel Michaely. All sit together for another running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast and performances, updates on various participants, music, characters, and various related thoughts.

Add in a healthy dollop of margaritas and we get another rollicking commentary. Maybe a little too rollicking at times, as the participants tend to talk on top of each other. Still, there’s a lot of energy on display, and the alcohol makes things playful and lively. Though not as informative as the original track, we get a reasonable amount of material about the flick and just have fun during this enjoyable piece.

For a subtitle commentary, we head to Special K’s 411 Track Yo’. Throughout the film, it tosses out various facts about pop culture references, cast and filmmakers, and production topics. We also get occasional snarky comments about the movie’s era. Some interesting tidbits occasionally emerge, though not a ton. Maintain modest expectations and you might enjoy it.

Three programs appear under “Featurettes”. Huntington Hills Class of ’98 Reunion runs 26 minutes, 43 seconds as it presents notes from Michaely, Kaplan, Elfont, Facinelli, Green, Faison, casting director Mary Vernieu, and actors Freddie Rodriguez, Jay Paulson, Ethan Embry, Nicole Bilderback, Victor Togunde, Jenna Elfman, Jennifer Lyons, Michelle Brookhurst, and Tamala Jones. The show looks at cast, characters and performances.

Just like the commentaries, “Reunion” provides a rollicking look at the flick. How often do you find featurettes that include extended observations on the lead actress’s breasts and jokes about giving performers herpes? It’s too bad that some prominent actors like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Lauren Ambrose fail to appear, but the program entertains and informs nonetheless.

Can’t Hardly Wait: The Making of a Teen Classic goes for 14 minutes, 28 seconds and includes comments from Kaplan, Elfont, Jones, Embry, Togunde, Bilderback, Green, Faison, Lyons, Rodriguez, Facinelli, Michaely, Paulson, Brookhurst, and Elfman. We learn about the origins of the project and the development of the script and story, more performance notes and the atmosphere on the set, and various anecdotes from the shoot. “Making” fails to live up to its title, as it doesn’t give us a real “making of” program. Nonetheless, it throws out many more interesting facts and becomes another enjoyable show.

Finally, The Life of the Party lasts nine minutes, 28 seconds and features Rodriguez, Bilderback, Elfman, Green, Faison, Michaely, Embry, Lyons, Paulson, Jones, Kaplan, Elfont, Togunde, Brookhurst, and Facinelli. The participants discuss their own high school graduation party experiences and their current perspectives on parties. It’s the least consequential of the pieces, but it’s entertaining enough.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 26 seconds. These include “’Pop Tarts?’” (0:26), “Extended Dendrophillia” (0:50), “Alternate Trip McNeely” (2:39), “Alternate Jail Scene” (1:39), “Extended Party Bust” (0:48) and “This Party Sucked” (1:04). Since the original commentary alluded to cut footage but the old disc included none, I looked forward to these.

Unfortunately, they’re all pretty dull. The two alternate bits aren’t very different, and the extendeds add little, though “Bust” does let us see more of drunk, crying girl. “Sucked” and “Tarts” are pretty forgettable as well, so don’t expect much from these unused seqyences.

We find a surprisingly interesting music video for Smash Mouth’s “Can’t Get Enough Of You, Baby”. The clip uses the standard format; we find a mix of lip-synched performance footage from the band and snippets from the movie. However, the “live” segments show a bright and fun Sixties look, and they seem entertaining and vivid. In addition, the video includes a cameo from Jennifer Love Hewitt, who looks especially hot.

Lastly, we get a trivia game called You Know You’re ‘90s If…. In this contest, we get a slew of multiple choice questions intended to figure out if you know your ‘90s from other decades. Some are easy, while some are tougher. It’s a surprisingly fun game.

The disc opens with ads for Men in Black and You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. These also appear in the Previews area along with a promo for Married Life. No trailer for Wait shows up here.

Can’t Hardly Wait isn’t a classic, but it offered a reasonably bright and amusing teen flick. Members of that age group will clearly like it best, but old folks like me can still derive some enjoyment from it. The Blu-ray provided good pucture and audio as well as a fun set of supplements. After nearly 20 years, Wait remains amusing.

To rate this film visit the original review of CAN'T HARDLY WAIT

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main