Can't Hardly Wait

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For the song by The Replacements, see Pleased to Meet Me.
Can't Hardly Wait
Cant hardly wait poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Deborah Kaplan
Harry Elfont
Produced by Betty Thomas
Written by Deborah Kaplan
Harry Elfont
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt
Ethan Embry
Charlie Korsmo
Lauren Ambrose
Peter Facinelli
Seth Green
Music by David Kitay
Cinematography Lloyd Ahern
Edited by Michael Jablow
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 12, 1998 (1998-06-12)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $25,605,015[1]

Can't Hardly Wait is a 1998 American teen comedy film written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. It stars an ensemble cast including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, and Seth Green, and is notable for a number of "before-they-were-famous" appearances by teen stars.

This movie ranked number 44 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[2]


The story 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 by their observation that in most teen films the best scenes were the party scenes, and thus decided to make a movie set entirely at a party. Though the film deals in common high school stereotypes, some favor its chaotic but appealing mise en scène and performances.

Can't Hardly Wait was named after The Replacements' song of the same title, from their 1987 album Pleased to Meet Me. The song plays at the end of the movie, when the credits start rolling.


The film revolves around students from the suburbs of Philadelphia attending a high-school graduation party at a large house owned by a rich class member's family. Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) plans to proclaim his love to his four-year secret crush. Prom queen Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) was recently dumped by her jock boyfriend. Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) is targeted by nerd classmate William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo), who is plotting revenge against him for years of bullying.

Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose) has no intention of going to the party but is dragged along by Preston. Kenny Fisher (Seth Green) is a wigger who plans on losing his virginity by the end of the night. After getting locked inside a bathroom, former friends Denise and Kenny talk about how they drifted apart; their conversation leads to the restoration of their friendship and escalates into them having sex.

Amanda is consoled by the drunken girlfriends of Mike's jock friends and her own second-cousin (who tries to hit on her) and tries to figure out if she has an identity beyond "Mike Dexter's girlfriend". She discovers a letter addressed to her, is moved by its contents, and makes it her mission to find the mystery author, who is Preston.

Before the party, Mike convinces his fellow jock friends to dump their girlfriends and remain single as they go to college. Later, an intoxicated Mike learns from Trip McNeely (Jerry O'Connell in a cameo) — a graduate and former stud from his high school — that in college, guys like them are "a dime a dozen". Trip emphasizes how he dumped his girlfriend in the same fashion that Mike did to score with women and was unsuccessful. Terrified, Mike tries to get Amanda back, but 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. He has two 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 to fit in. He drinks enough to make him forget what he is doing there, and an impromptu sing-along to Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" causes him to become popular. William begins talking with Mike, who apologizes for bullying him. William forgives him, and the two seemingly become friends. When Mike and William are jailed as a result of a police bust, Mike takes the blame. The next morning, when William sees Mike and some of his friends at a diner, he tries to thank Mike for taking the fall. But Mike acts as though he remembers nothing that happened the previous night and ridicules William in front of his friends.

Meanwhile, Preston finds Amanda and confesses his love; however, she assumes he is another pervert and rejects him. She later realizes her mistake and tries to find Preston, but he has driven home. The next morning, Preston is at a railway station, about to leave. Amanda visits Preston at the station and asks him about the letter. Preston confesses he wrote it and is about to depart for a writing workshop with Kurt Vonnegut. The two say goodbye, but soon, Preston stops and runs back to Amanda, and they kiss.

As the film ends, the characters' fates are revealed:

  • Seven hours later, Preston 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 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 formed his own computer company that has made him worth millions, and he is dating a supermodel.
  • William's two nerdy friends were abducted by aliens after discussing that they did not miss anything by not attending the party.


Uncredited appearances[edit]



Can't Hardly Wait was released on June 12, 1998, and grossed $8,025,910 in its opening weekend.[1] Its total domestic gross was $25,605,015, which was more than double its budget.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, as it has a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 58 reviews.[3]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD on November 17, 1998.[4] On September 30, 2008, it was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray as the "10 Year Reunion Edition" to commemorate the film's 10th anniversary. The re-release included bonus features not on the original release.[5]

Alternate version[edit]

In order for the film to receive a PG-13 rating, a number of scenes were deleted from the final print.[6] The missing scenes are:

  • All of the scenes involving a character called the Crying Drunk Girl (Jennifer Elise Cox) who is so drunk that she has subtitles for when she speaks and she is the key to what is going on in movie. Her missing scenes of dialogue are:
    • After Preston and Denise talk with the Yearbook Girl, the Crying Drunk Girl walks up to them and says, "Thush bezt weveram sisu gizem chext ear." (subtitle translation: "This is the best party ever! I'm gonna miss you guys next year!) She group hugs them and walks away where Preston says, "There's one at every party."
    • After Preston walks away from the Exchange Student at the backyard pool, the Crying Drunk Girl walks over to the Exchange Student and says to him, "Idlik tach yre enis!" (I'd like to touch your penis!)
    • When Kenny and Denise suddenly get locked in the upstairs bathroom and scream "NOOOOO!!!" the tracking shot from the bathroom door leads down the steps directly to the Crying Drunk Girl who somehow hears them and she says "Yerd dum shelling yers chairs." (Did anyone hear that? Somebody's yelling for help upstairs!) But since no one can understand her, no help comes to Kenny or Denise.
    • When Amanda is talking to the Stoned Guy and the Watermelon Guy about who Preston is, the Crying Drunk Girl stumbles over to Amanda, leans on her shoulder, and says: "Snow stun shy is shy sumber shess sing." (I know who Preston Meyers is. I can give you his phone number, his address, anything.) Unable to understand her, Amanda just shrugs her off and walks away.
    • During the police raid, one of the cops is talking to the Crying Drunk Girl on the front lawn of the house who asks her to stop crying and speak clearly and she says, "I allred tdya, mnwans is mray hunds, ive at seveithg nolfok. (But I already told you! My name is Mary Hampson and I live and 1781 Norfolk!) Unable to understand her, the cop puts in her in a police van with Kenny's two Homboys and others who include the Hippy Girl, the Headbanger and others.
  • Also deleted was the scene involving the Stoned Girl (Amber Benson) who is glimpsed holding a banana as William walks through the kitchen to taste his first beer. It takes place in between the scenes where Kenny hits on Ashley and Jana where he sees her leaning against a dining room shelf and talks to her, but all she says is "Okay" everything he says. Then another girl walks in and thanks Kenny for finding her and says that Stephanie (the name of the Stoned Girl) just took three thingies of herbal ecstasy is so out of it. The girlfriend helps the Stoned Girl to her feet and they leave, leaving Kenny alone and downbeat.
  • Also deleted was the original opening, which takes place in a bookstore the day before the graduation, where Preston is talking to Denise about his desire for Amanda and his plans for going away to college.
  • When Kenny and his two homeboys first arrive at the party, Kenny plays around with a large sheepdog, named Mr. Tuxford, at the front door who belongs to the Girl Whose Party It Is, who jumps onto Kenny licking his face where he pushes the dog away who runs out the front door and the Girl runs after him.
  • There is more dialogue after when Kenny and Denise are released from the upstairs bathroom where the Girl Whose Party It Is continues yelling at Kenny and about the destruction they brought to her house as they are walking down the stairs where the house is now completely deserted and ransacked, and then the Girl's dog runs into the house and she drops to one knee and hugs the dog while Kenny takes this distraction to walk out and follow Denise.
  • A scene where the Watermelon Guy holds up a large watermelon and says "This was in my freezer since September and I've poured six bottles of vodka into it and I've been saving it for this time!" When all the guys around him grab at it, the watermelon falls on the kitchen floor splattering.
  • A scene in the "make-out room" where Mike Dexter enters looking for Amanda in the basement, lit with a dim red light, and he turns on the basement lights, revealing a dozen or more scantly clad boys and girls necking and shirtless; William is among them, with one of the Groupies and another girl. William gets up, puts on a blue band shirt, turns the lights back off and follows Mike upstairs after saying he remembers what he was supposed to do tonight.
  • During the raid when the Yearbook Girl tries getting her yearbook floating on the swimming pool after William throws it in, she falls head first into the pool. She climbs out and runs into a group of kids running from the cops and falls back in the pool again. Then the Reminiscing Guy appears, pulls her out with of the pool as her savior with her yearbook and they make their getaway.
  • More scenes with William and the Stoned Guy, who put marijuana in the mini dinosaur and inhale from the mouth, and then gives it to William for a try.
  • As Preston is walking away from the trash cans after throwing away his letter to Amanda, he passes by a car where a girl's leg is sticking out of a window, and the unmistakable sounds of lovemaking are heard from the car.
  • An extended scene with Kenny and his two Homeboys in the convenience store where they are talking while they are bringing their stuff to the cash register to purchase.
  • In the scene where the Hippy Girl is tasting a marijuana brownie with the Hippy Guy, she tells him that he's supposed to melt the weed in with the butter, not put it in the mix and then says: "these brownies suck!" and then throws it in the direction of Denise.
  • The final scene at the diner is expanded with a shot from the Yearbook Girl and the Reminiscing Guy looking at some romance between them, the shot moves to the next booths where they show the band of the bass player, drummer, guitarist and lead singer trying to make sense about the night before, to the Foreign Exchange Student and the Crying Drunk Girl having found each other and both talking in incoherent, nonsense language and understanding each other, to at least two other booths, including the Girl Whose Party it was, before stopping at the booth with Mike Dexter and his jock friends.
  • The final parts of 'where the characters are now' were changed. The original Kenny and Denise part originally read: Denise dumped Kenny later that day. Denise went to NYU, where she found a whole bunch of people just like her. Bored at it all, she dropped out and started shooting photo covers for Rolling Stone Magazine. She currently directed the latest music video for Wu-Tang Clan.


The film's soundtrack peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200 chart.[7]

Can't Hardly Wait: Music From The Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released May 26, 1998
Recorded 1997-98
Length 59:00
Label Elektra
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars [8]
No. Title Writer(s) Performed by Length
1. "Graduate"     Third Eye Blind 3:07
2. "Can't Get Enough of You Baby"     Smash Mouth 2:31
3. "Dammit"     Blink-182 2:46
4. "I Walked In"     Brougham 4:19
5. "Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up"     Busta Rhymes 3:44
6. "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee" (Remix)   Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (featuring Lil' Kim and Mocha) 4:50
7. "Swing My Way" (Radio Edit)   K.P. and Envyi 4:08
8. "Flashlight"     Parliament 4:27
9. "It's Tricky"     Run-D.M.C. 3:02
10. "High"     Feeder 4:34
11. "Tell Me What to Say"     Black Lab 4:06
12. "Farther Down"     Matthew Sweet 3:48
13. "Can't Hardly Wait"     The Replacements 3:03
14. "Umbrella"     Dog's Eye View 3:34
15. "Paradise City"     Guns N' Roses 6:45

Songs featured in the movie but are not on the soundtrack include:


External links[edit]