Can’t Hardly Wait (Movie)

Title — Can't Hardly Wait
Available on — Prime Video, Apple TV
Production Country — United States
Release Date — 1998
At a wild high school graduation party, aspiring writer Preston hopes to declare his love to popular girl Amanda, who just got dumped by the class jock.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

“Can’t Hardly Wait” is a nostalgic throwback to the classic teen films of the 80s, capturing the essence of coming-of-age experiences in high school. Directed by Harry Elfont and Debra Kaplan, the film pays homage to iconic movies like “Sixteen Candles” and “Say Anything,” creating a familiar yet enjoyable story for audiences.

The plot revolves around a wild party held on the day of final exams, bringing together a diverse group of high school students. The central characters include Amanda Beckett, the recently single prom queen played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Preston, portrayed by Ethan Embry, who harbors a long-standing crush on Amanda.

As the night unfolds, we witness the transformation of William Lichter, the school geek, who undergoes a coming-of-age journey filled with typical teenage antics like getting drunk, karaoke performances, and romantic encounters. The film follows a formulaic approach, focusing on entertaining the audience rather than delving into deep social commentary.

Other notable characters include Kenny Fischer, played by Seth Green, a white student who adopts a misguided urban persona to mask his insecurities, and his friend Denise. The party serves as a backdrop for comedic and heartfelt moments, with unexpected twists and revelations adding to the overall fun and chaos.

With a blend of humor, romance, and relatable teenage dilemmas, “Can’t Hardly Wait” captures the essence of youthful exuberance and the universal quest for self-discovery during the tumultuous high school years.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green, Michelle Brookhurst, Alexander Martin, Erik Palladino, Channon Roe, Sean Patrick Thomas

Actor Role
Ethan Embry Preston Meyers
Charlie Korsmo William Lichter
Lauren Ambrose Denise Fleming
Peter Facinelli Mike Dexter
Seth Green Kenny Fisher
Jennifer Love Hewitt Amanda Beckett

💬 Reviews and feedback

Ah, the 90s! A time when boy bands ruled the airwaves, and baggy jeans were all the rage. If you’ve ever found yourself reminiscing about those simpler times, then “Can’t Hardly Wait” is like a time capsule ready to transport you back to the high school graduation party of your dreams—or nightmares, depending on how you look at it.


“Can’t Hardly Wait” centers around a massive graduation bash thrown by one of Huntington Hills High School’s wealthy students. The setting? Los Angeles, California, circa 1998. The film weaves together a variety of subplots involving an eclectic mix of characters who are each navigating their own struggles and aspirations on this momentous night.

Ethan Embry stars as Preston Meyers, our lovesick protagonist who’s been pining for Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) for four years. With graduation night as his last chance to declare his undying love, Preston embarks on a mission to find Amanda in the chaotic whirlwind that is this mega-party.

Themes and Tone:

The movie is a charming snapshot of teenage angst and aspirations wrapped in wild hijinks and comedic situations. It’s like the cinematic equivalent of your high school yearbook—if your yearbook included drunken escapades and awkward romantic confessions. The film delves into themes such as unrequited love, self-discovery, and the often exaggerated importance we place on high school events.

But let’s not kid ourselves: “Can’t Hardly Wait” leans heavily into its comedic elements with gusto. It’s filled with crude humor and bawdy jokes that somehow slipped through under a PG-13 rating. So yes, parents might want to take note; while it captures teenage life fairly accurately (albeit exaggerated), it might not be suitable for all younger audiences.

Acting and Characters:

This film is brimming with memorable performances from a cast who would go on to become household names in their own right. Ethan Embry plays Preston with an endearing sincerity that makes us root for him even in his most cringe-worthy moments. Jennifer Love Hewitt shines as Amanda Beckett, embodying both vulnerability and grace as she navigates her own post-breakup turmoil.

  • Seth Green brings the laughs as Kenny Fisher—a wannabe gangsta with an identity crisis who just wants to lose his virginity before college. His hilarious attempts at being ‘cool’ make him one of the standout characters.
  • Lauren Ambrose plays Denise Fleming, Preston’s sarcastic but loyal best friend whose dry wit offers some of the film’s best lines.
  • A special shoutout goes to Jenna Elfman playing ‘The Angel,’ who delivers a short but impactful appearance offering sage advice dressed in an angel costume (because why not?).


Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont co-directed this gem, managing to juggle multiple storylines without losing track of any character arcs or comedic beats. They keep things moving at a brisk pace while ensuring each subplot gets its due screen time—no small feat given the ensemble cast.


If you’re into 90s music (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), then you’re in for a treat! The soundtrack is packed with nostalgic hits that perfectly underscore various scenes—from love-struck ballads during Preston’s pining moments to energetic rock anthems fueling party shenanigans.

Cinematography & Production Design:

The cinematography captures the chaos and excitement of a large-scale house party beautifully. Whether it’s wide shots capturing dance floor mayhem or intimate close-ups during heartfelt conversations—and awkward encounters—the visual direction hits all the right notes.

  • The production design also deserves praise; from cluttered teenage bedrooms filled with posters to meticulously messy party scenes complete with red Solo cups scattered everywhere—it’s all delightfully authentic!

“It cuts quickly back and forth between nothing and nothing,” one review quipped—but perhaps that’s part of its charm.”

Binge-watching Tips:

  • If you’re planning a 90s movie marathon, pair “Can’t Hardly Wait” with other classics like “Clueless” or “10 Things I Hate About You.” You’ll have yourself a nostalgia-packed evening!
  • Snack Tip: Go for classic 90s snacks like Dunkaroos or Pop-Tarts—they’ll add another layer of nostalgia!
  • If watching with friends who’ve never seen it before? Make it interactive by assigning characters based on who’s most similar among your group—you’ll get some laughs out of that!

Interactive Elements:

  • Which character did you relate most to during high school? Drop your answers in the comments below!
  • If you had one night left in high school like Preston does—what would you do differently?

So there you have it! “Can’t Hardly Wait” may not be groundbreaking cinema—it’s predictable but undeniably fun thanks largely due its likable cast whose performances elevate otherwise clichéd material into something genuinely entertaining—and dare say memorable! It’s fluffy yet packed enough heart & humor making perfect weekend watch whether reliving glory days or simply hunting feel-good flick escape reality few hours.

As far ratings go? I’ll give solid 7/10—because sometimes predictability isn’t bad thing especially comes good dose nostalgia served alongside chuckles aplenty!

Got thoughts own regarding flick drop below—we’d love hear them remember life short so dance wild tonight because tomorrow new adventure awaits!

Pros Cons
Likeable cast Predictable storyline
Well-polished characters Excessive crude language
High school party atmosphere Overuse of pop songs
Humorous moments Questionable moral choices by characters
Colorful side characters Inappropriate themes for younger audiences


  • Can't Hardly Wait (1998) - IMDb

    A complete graduating class, consisting of beautiful girls, geeks and promising footballers, assemble at a rich classmate’s residence for a party. Interesting developments follow at the get-… Read allA complete graduating class, consisting of beautiful girls, geeks and promising footballers, assemble at a rich classmate’s residence for a party. Interesting developments follow at the get-together.A complete graduating class, consisting of beautiful girls, geeks and promising footballers, assemble at a rich classmate’s residence for a party. Interesting developments follow at the get-together.

  • Can't Hardly Wait - Wikipedia

    101 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $10–13 million Box office $25.6 million

    Can’t Hardly Waitis a 1998 American teen romantic comedy film written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. It stars an ensemble cast including 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 teen stars. The story takes place at a high school graduation party.

  • Can't Hardly Wait | Rotten Tomatoes

    Occasionally clever and moderately intelligent,Can’t Hardly Waitalso contains too many cheap laughs, recycled plotting, and flat characters.

    Can’t Hardly WaitWhere to WatchCan’t Hardly Wait

    Rent Can’t Hardly Wait on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, or buy it on Fandango at Home, Prime Video.

    What to KnowCritics ReviewsAudience ReviewsCast & Crew

    Deborah KaplanDirectorHarry ElfontDirectorJennifer Love HewittAmanda BeckettEthan EmbryPreston MeyersCharlie KorsmoWilliam LichterLauren AmbroseDenise Fleming

  • Can't Hardly Wait movie review (1998) | Roger Ebert

    Now take Denise, on the other hand. She gets accidentally locked into the bathroom with Kenny (Seth Green), who talks like a black rap artist even though he’s white, and wears goggles and thinks he’s cool and will someday no doubt be a radio talk host. Denise is cute and plucky and kids Kenny’s affectations, and remembers that they were best pals until the sixth grade, when he dropped her because, she says, “I was in all the smart classes, and my parents didn’t make a lot of money, and you desperately needed to sit at the popular table in the lunchroom.” Denise is the only person in this senior class that anyone of any taste would want to be friends with. Why don’t the filmmakers know that? Why do they go through the tired old motions of making Denise the comic relief, and assigning the romantic leads to a couple of clueless rubber stamps? You tell me. “Can’t Hardly Wait” is the kind of movie that somehow succeeds in moving very, very slowly even while proceeding at a breakneck pace. It cuts quickly back and forth between nothing and nothing. It underlines every single scene with a pop song that tells us what the scene is about. It doesn’t have the zing of life and subversion that the best high school movies always have. Or, if they don’t have them, like “Porky’s” didn’t, at least they have mercy on us and throw in a shower scene.

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the 1998 American teen romantic comedy film, “Can’t Hardly Wait,” directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, viewers are taken on a nostalgic journey back to a high school graduation party in the late 1990s. The film boasts an ensemble cast including Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, with notable appearances by teen stars before they rose to fame.

The plot revolves around a high school graduation party where various characters, representing different high school cliques, come together for one last hurrah before going their separate ways. The decision to set the majority of the movie at a party was both a cost-saving measure and a nod to the classic high school movies of the 1980s, drawing inspiration from the works of John Hughes and the iconic party scene in “Say Anything…”

The title of the movie, “Can’t Hardly Wait,” is derived from The Replacements’ song of the same name, featured on their 1987 album “Pleased to Meet Me,” which plays during the film’s closing credits.

The film received mixed reviews from critics but managed to gross $25 million at the North American box office, exceeding its $10 million production budget. The soundtrack, filled with iconic 90s hits, peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200 chart, further adding to the film’s nostalgic charm.

Throughout the movie, viewers witness the intertwining stories of various characters as they navigate the complexities of high school relationships, friendships, and personal growth during a pivotal moment in their lives. The film captures the essence of teenage angst, love, and self-discovery in a light-hearted and comedic manner.

As the movie reaches its climax at the graduation party, viewers are treated to a heartwarming and funny conclusion where the characters finally find their happy endings. The ending scene encapsulates the themes of closure, new beginnings, and the bittersweet nature of saying goodbye to the familiar confines of high school.

Overall, “Can’t Hardly Wait” remains a beloved teen comedy classic that resonates with audiences for its relatable characters, memorable soundtrack, and timeless portrayal of the ups and downs of high school life.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, language, and teen drinking.

Parental Guide:

Parents should be aware that Can’t Hardly Wait contains the following content:

  • Sex & Nudity: There are several instances of sexual content, including discussions about losing virginity, making out, and implied sexual activity. A girl wears revealing clothing, and there are scenes of kissing and suggestive dancing.
  • Violence & Gore: Some comedic violence is present, such as characters being hit with objects or falling down. There are no graphic scenes of gore or blood.
  • Profanity: The film contains moderate to strong language throughout, including multiple uses of profanity, sexual references, and crude humor.
  • Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: Teenage characters are shown drinking alcohol at a party. Some characters are portrayed as intoxicated, and there are scenes of characters holding and consuming alcoholic beverages.

Overall, Can’t Hardly Wait is a teen romantic comedy that may be suitable for mature teenagers aged 13 and above, but parental discretion is advised due to the themes and content depicted in the film.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Prime Video Can’t Hardly Wait is available to rent or buy on Prime Video.
Apple TV Can’t Hardly Wait can be rented on Apple TV.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • But I think maybe, maybe it's just God's salt. And God's just waiting to eat us.
  • Damn, she's gonna think I got that premature evacuation!
  • You know what they say about women and trolley cars. There's plenty of 'em in the sea.
  • Aw damn, man. Our boy's a fag, yo.
    Seth Green - Kenny Fisher

🤖Can't Hardly Wait Reddit Talks

“Can’t Hardly Wait” is a 1998 teen comedy film that follows the lives of several high school students on the night of their graduation party. The film has been praised for its realistic portrayal of teenage life and its humor, but it has also been criticized for its lack of originality.

On Reddit, the film has been the subject of much discussion. Some users have praised the film for its nostalgia factor, while others have criticized it for being too similar to other teen comedies. However, there are a few common themes that emerge from the discussions:

  1. The film’s realistic portrayal of teenage life. Many users have praised the film for its realistic portrayal of teenage life. They note that the film accurately captures the awkwardness, insecurity, and excitement of being a teenager. One user writes, “This movie is so accurate in its portrayal of teenage life. It’s like a time capsule of the ’90s.”
  2. The film’s humor. The film’s humor is another aspect that has been praised by users. They note that the film is full of funny moments, both big and small. One user writes, “This movie is hilarious. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.” However, other users find the film’s attempts at humor to be juvenile and unfunny.
  3. The film’s lack of originality. The film’s lack of originality is one of the main criticisms that users have. They note that the film is very similar to other teen comedies, and that it doesn’t offer anything new or unique. One user writes, “This movie is just a rehash of every other teen comedy. There’s nothing new or original here.”

Overall, the discussions on Reddit about “Can’t Hardly Wait” are mixed. Some users praise the film for its nostalgia factor, realistic portrayal of teenage life, and humor, while others criticize it for its lack of originality. However, the film remains a popular choice for those looking for a fun and nostalgic teen comedy.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is “Can’t Hardly Wait” appropriate?

Parents need to know that this movie is about a huge graduation party where most of the kids are drinking illegally, uttering crude language, and getting laid. Somehow it sneaked through with a PG-13 rating, though it’s more lewd and bawdy than the rating implies.

How does Can’t Hardly Wait end?

The two say goodbye and Preston walks away, but then he stops and runs back to Amanda and they share a kiss. The epilogue explains what happened to all of the main characters: William became one of the most popular students at Harvard.

What state does Can’t Hardly Wait take place in?

Set in 1998, in Los Angeles, California, recent graduates of a suburban high school, Huntington Hills High school, attend a huge graduation party at one of their wealthy classmates’ huge houses while her parents are gone for the weekend.

Who is the angel in Can’t Hardly Wait?

In Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), Jenna Elfman portrays The Angel.

Is Can’t Hardly Wait a good movie?

In 2012, Entertainment Weekly ranked Can’t Hardly Wait number 44 on its list of the 50 Best High School Movies of all time. Can’t Hardly Wait is known for its portrayal of typical high school graduation party dynamics.

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