- Can't Hardly Wait
- For the song by The Replacements, see Pleased to Meet Me.
Can't Hardly Wait
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Deborah Kaplan
Produced by Betty Thomas Written by Deborah Kaplan
Starring Ethan Embry
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Music by David Kitay Cinematography Lloyd Ahern Editing by Michael Jablow Distributed by Columbia Pictures Release date(s) June 12, 1998 Running time 101 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $10 million Box office $25,605,015
Can't Hardly Wait is a 1998 American teen comedy film written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. It stars Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and is notable for a number of "before-they-were-famous" appearances by various teen stars of the era.
The movie takes place at a high school graduation party, and in a style much like that of the high school movies of the 1980s. The filmmakers were inspired to make the movie because they felt that in most teen films the best scenes were the party scenes. Therefore, they decided to make a movie that was set entirely at a party. Though the film deals in common high school stereotypes, some favor the film's chaotic but appealing mise en scène and performances.
The film revolves around an eclectic group of students from Pennsylvania attending a high school graduation party at a large house owned by a rich class member's family. Each character has different plans for the night. Optimistic misfit Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) plans to proclaim his love to his four-year secret crush, to whom he has never had the nerve to speak before, prom queen Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who in turn has recently been dumped by her top jock boyfriend, Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) who is targeted by nerd classmate William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo), who is plotting revenge against Mike for years of bullying in school.
Cynical Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose) has no intention of going to the party. But when her best friend, Preston, says he is going to proclaim his love for Amanda, she is dragged along. Kenny Fisher (Seth Green) is a conspicuously unskilled aspiring rapper who plans on losing his virginity by the end of the night. When he goes into the upstairs bathroom to "get ready", Denise happens to walk in. That is when the two learn that the door has a broken doorknob, trapping them in the bathroom. The pair of former friends begin talking about how they drifted apart; their conversation eventually leads to the restoration of their friendship and then escalates into them having sex in the bathroom.
During the course of the party, Amanda deals with being alternately consoled by the drunken girlfriends of Mike's jock friends and her own cousin (who tries to hit on her), and trying to figure out if she truly has an identity past being known as "Mike Dexter's girlfriend". At one point during the night, she discovers a letter addressed to her. Unbeknownst to her, the letter was written by Preston, and after reading and subsequently being moved by its contents, she makes it her mission to find him.
Before the party, Mike convinces his fellow jock friends to follow his lead and dump their girlfriends in order to make a pact in which they all pledge to remain single as they go to college. Later on, an intoxicated Mike learns from a guy named Trip McNeely (Jerry O'Connell in a cameo) - a graduate and former stud from his high school - that in college, jerks like them are "a dime a dozen" and ironically, find themselves on the receiving end of bullying. This reality is even driven in further by the fact that Trip emphasizes how he dumped his girlfriend in the same fashion that Mike did to score with women which was unsuccessful. Terrified, Mike tries to get Amanda back, but she replies that she is happier without him and humiliates him in front of everyone at the party.
At the same time, William devises his plan to get revenge on Mike by humiliating him. He has his two even more nerdy, X-Files-obsessed friends wait on the roof, while he goes into the party to drive Mike out. However, while inside the party, William begins drinking alcohol in order to fit in. After a while, he drinks enough to make him forget what he was originally doing there and then an impromptu sing-along to Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" causes him to become popular for the evening. William begins talking with Mike, and Mike apologizes for tripping him earlier in the day at the graduation ceremony while William was giving the valedictorian speech. William forgives him, and the two of them seemingly become friends. When Mike and William are jailed as a result of a police bust, Mike takes the blame, saying that he forced William into drinking. However, the next morning when William sees Mike and some of his friends at a local diner, he tries to thank Mike for taking the fall. But Mike acts as though he remembers nothing of what happened the previous night and proceeds to ridicule him in front of his friends. William, feeling the sting of betrayal, leaves dejected while Mike laughs with his friends.
Meanwhile, Preston eventually finds Amanda and confesses his love; however, she assumes he is just another drunk pervert and rejects him. She later finds a yearbook, sees his picture, and realizes her mistake. She tries to find Preston again, but he has already driven home. The next morning, Preston is at a railway station, about to leave on a train. Amanda visits Preston at the station where she asks him about the letter. Preston confesses he wrote it and that he is about to depart for a pre-college writing workshop with Kurt Vonnegut. The two regretfully say their goodbyes; but soon after, Preston stops and runs back to Amanda, and they kiss.
As the film ends, the characters' fates are revealed:
- Seven hours later, Preston finally got on a train to Boston. Amanda wrote him a letter for every day that he was away. They are still together.
- The day after the party, Denise and Kenny meet up in a diner; five minutes later, Denise dumped Kenny. Ten minutes later, they found a bathroom and got back together.
- Mike went on to college but, after drinking too much, lost his football scholarship. He ended up forty pounds overweight and working at the car wash, a job he lost when incriminating Polaroids surfaced.
- William became one of the most popular students at Harvard. He later went on to form his own computer company that has made him worth millions, and he is dating a supermodel. (William's name and the "computer company" statement are references to Microsoft's founding member and billionaire Bill Gates).
- William's two nerdy friends were abducted by aliens after discussing that they did not miss anything by not attending the party.
- Ethan Embry as Preston Meyers
- Charlie Korsmo as William Lichter
- Lauren Ambrose as Denise Fleming
- Peter Facinelli as Mike Dexter
- Seth Green as Kenny Fisher
- Jennifer Love Hewitt as Amanda Beckett
- Robert Jayne as Richie Coolboy
- Michelle Brookhurst as Molly Stinson, party host
- Chris Owen as Klepto Kid
- Jason Segel as Watermelon Guy
- Clea Duvall as Jana
- Jamie Pressly, Tamala Jones, and Jennifer Lyons as Girlfriends
- Channon Roe, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Freddy Rodriguez as Jocks
- Erik Palladino as Cousin Ron
- Breckin Meyer as Lead Singer of band
- Donald Faison as Drummer
- Paige Moss as Ashley
- Eric Balfour as Hippie Guy
- Selma Blair and Jennifer Paz as Girls Mike Hits On
- Sara Rue as Earth Girl
- Nicole Bilderback as Ready to Have Sex Girl
- Leslie Grossman as Ready to Have Sex's Friend
- Monica McSwain as Groupie
- Marisol Nichols as Groupie #2
- Vicellous Reon Shannon as Reddi-wip Kid
- Jamie Donnelly
- Breckin Meyer as Walter, Lovebürger Lead Singer
- Jenna Elfman as The Angel Stripper
- Jerry O'Connell as Trip McNeely
- Melissa Joan Hart as Vicki, Yearbook Girl
- Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont as Voices of Graduation Students
- Amber Benson as Stephanie: Stoned Banana-holding Girl
Before they were famous...
Small Part Appearances from soon-to-be famous actors include, but are not limited to:
- Jason Segel as Watermelon Guy, today Segal stars in CBS's How I Met Your Mother, as well as a screenwriter and star in movies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man.
- Jamie Pressly as Girlfriend, starred in NBC'S My Name Is Earl and many movies including I Love You, Man.
- Donald Faison as Drummer, starred in NBC's medical comedy, Scrubs.
- Selma Blair as Girl Mike Hits On, many motion pictures including Cruel Intentions, Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
- Breckin Meyer as Lead Singer of band, starred in Garfield: The Movie as Jon and in the current TNT dramedy, Franklin & Bash.
- Jenna Elfman as The Angel Stripper, starred as Dharma in TV's Dharma and Greg.
- Alyson Hannigan as Girl at Party, stars as Willow on TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", Lilly Aldrin in CBS's How I Met Your Mother, along side Jason Segel, and had what is probably the most famous line in the movie American Pie.
- Peter Facinelli as Mike Dexter, now as Carlisle Cullen in the film adaptations of the Twilight series
- Freddy Rodriguez as Jock #3, starred in HBO's Six Feet Under and films such as Planet Terror.
- Tamala Jones as Cindi, stars as Dr. Lanie Parish in the ABC crime drama Castle.
- Chris Owen as Klepto Kid, appeared in the American Pie movies as Chuck "The Sherminator" Sherman
- Sara Rue as Earth Girl, starred in the shows Popular, Less Than Perfect, and Eastwick
- Eric Balfour as Hippie Guy, currently stars on the show Haven
- On the album Phoenix by Zebrahead, the tenth track is called "Mike Dexter is a God, Mike Dexter is a Role Model, Mike Dexter is an Asshole", written after the Mike Dexter character.
- On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon frequently references her dream man, "Astronaut Mike Dexter."
- The Blink-182 song "Going Away to College" was written after the bassist Mark Hoppus saw Can't Hardly Wait.
- The pop-punk band Fireworks (punk band) named their first demo release in 2005 "Can't Hardly Wait". This was a reference to The Replacements (band).
Can't Hardly Wait was released on June 12, 1998 and grossed $8,025,910 in its opening weekend. Its total domestic gross was $25,605,015, which was more than double its budget.
The movie was re-released in 2008 on DVD and Blu-ray to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the film. The new DVD contained special features not included on the original release.
Songs featured on the soundtrack:
- "Graduate" - Third Eye Blind
- "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" - Smash Mouth
- "Dammit" - Blink-182
- "I Walked In" - Brougham
- "Turn It Up (remix)/Fire It Up" - Busta Rhymes
- "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee" (remix) - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (featuring Lil' Kim and Mocha)
- "Swing My Way" (Radio Edit) - K.P. and Envyi
- "Flashlight" - Parliament
- "It's Tricky" - Run-D.M.C.
- "High" - Feeder
- "Tell Me What to Say" - Black Lab
- "Farther Down" - Matthew Sweet
- "Can't Hardly Wait" - The Replacements
- "Umbrella" - Dog's Eye View
- "Paradise City" - Guns N' Roses
Songs featured in the movie but are not on the soundtrack include:
- "London" - Third Eye Blind
- "Mandy" - Barry Manilow
- "Caress Me Down" - Sublime
- "Romeo and Juliet" - Dire Straits
- "6 Underground" (The Umbrellas of Ladywell Mix #2) - Sneaker Pimps
- "Open Road Song" - Eve 6
- "I'll Make Love to You" - Boyz II Men
- "Wooly Imbibe" - Soul Coughing
- "Walkin' on the Sun" - Smash Mouth
- "Cold Beverage" - G. Love and Special Sauce
- "Ode" - Creed
- "How Do I Make You" - Jennifer Love Hewitt
- "Don't Leave Me This Way" - Thelma Houston
- "All Mixed Up" - 311
- "This Is How I Know" - Click Tha Supah Latin
- "More Human than Human" - White Zombie
- "Inside Out" - Eve 6
- "Get It On" - Kingdom Come
- "Bust a Move" by Young MC
- "Groove is in the Heart" (The Deee-Remix) - Deee-Lite
- "The Mac" - Dr. Freeze
- "Funky Cold Medina" - Tone Lōc
- "Ghost Radio" - Brian Setzer Orchestra
- "Lucas With the Lid Off" - Lucas
- "It Makes Me Crazy" - 10 Speed
- "Love Hurts" - Nazareth
- "Waiting for a Girl Like You" - Foreigner
- "Sugar Cane" - Space Monkeys
- "Ready to Take a Chance Again" - Barry Manilow
- "Funk #49" - James Gang
- "When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees
- "Only You" - Yazoo
- Can't Hardly Wait at the Internet Movie Database
- Can't Hardly Wait at Box Office Mojo
- Can't Hardly Wait at Rotten Tomatoes
Films by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan Written and directedCan't Hardly Wait (1998) · Josie and the Pussycats (2001) Screenplays
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