Can’t Hardly Wait (Blu-ray)

Yes I can. I can wait.

The senior class of Huntington Hill High is celebrating their matriculation by throwing a tremendous house party, and all the overwrought, one-dimensional teen movie stereotypes are invited: The desperate-to-get-laid social outcast (Seth Green, Robot Chicken)! The hapless, hopelessly-in-love dork (Ethan Embry)! The obnoxious, elitist jock (Peter Facinelli, Fastlane)! The nerd vowing to get revenge on all the cool kids who think they’re so cool (Charlie Korsmo)! The militant feminist that no one likes (Lauren Ambrose)! The smart, beautiful object of that hapless dork’s affection (Jennifer Love-Hewitt, I Know What You Did Last Summer)! And, finally, the smart, beautiful object of that hapless dork’s affection’s cleavage (Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cleavage).

So this is the ten-year reunion edition and everyone involved with the production of the extra features seem pretty pleased with themselves and their movie. I guess I don’t get it. Was this a major, generation-defining teen blockbuster? Did I miss something? Because I remember very little hullabaloo when it was released and watching it 10 years later, the film failed to instill me with any kind of John Hughesian reverence.

Can’t Hardly Wait is a tepid, half-baked, derivative teen comedy, devoid of wit and at its best mildly inoffensive, at its worst, hugely irritating. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because I hate disc case covers featuring quirky, airbrushed young people making outrageous faces (Seth Green looks likes a Cosmo cover model). They all seem to be having a fantastic time, as if they’re smack in the middle of a magical time in their lives full of laughter and beer and ejaculate.

Well, they might all think it was magical, but I found it mediocre. About 95% of the film takes place at the party. You commit yourself to one static venue for that long, you better have some decent material to fill it with. Not the case. There’s a spat between band members over the cowboy hat the drummer wears. High-larious! Feminist girl and horny loser — Seth Green’s character was excruciating by the way — are trapped in a bathroom together. Ironic! Nerd boy gets drunk and jock boy gets drunk and they play the piano together. Amusing juxtaposition! And hapless dork spends the entire night trying to confess his love but is rebuffed through a series of hapless coincidences. Hence the haplessness!

None of it is funny.

The main arc of the film, the cat and mouse game with Ethan Embry and Jennifer Love Hewitt is a total misfire, mainly because Embry’s character is such a massive schmuck there’s zero sympathy for his dogged romantic journey. And talk about a contrived ending. Straight out from the diary of a middle-schooler.

In fact, that’s probably how I’d characterize the writing in general of the whole affair — facile. Especially those title cards at the finale talking about the destiny of each character. Hey the nerd became a millionaire software developer! And the jock is in a dead-end job! And — SPOILER ALERT! — our two protagonists are still together to this very day! Hooray.

Maybe this movie touched you. Perhaps you and your pals crafted some meaningful memories while you kicked back and watched these misadventures. Great news — you’ll want the Can’t Hardly Wait Blu-ray. The new 1.85:1 high-def widescreen is looks fine, well-improved over the video presentation of its DVD counterpart. These catalog releases can go either way, and while the picture quality isn’t exactly jaw-dropping, there’s enough of a bump in resolution to place the disc about in the middle-range. Colors are strong and the detailing is noticeably crisper. The TrueHD 5.1 tracks (English, French, Portuguese) are strong — unfortunately they’re pushing a dated selection of brutal ’90s karaoke music. If I ever hear “I Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” again, I’m opening my wrists.

More extras than you could possibly need: two commentary tracks, the original with filmmakers and cast and a new “reunion” edition, which is actually pretty funny; deleted scenes; a new retrospective with the cast members; two new making-of featurettes; the easiest trivia game in history; a trivia track; and a Smash Mouth music video.

A lightweight, charmless, unfunny affair.


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