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Any adolescent male who went to see CAN'T HARDLY WAIT ($30) did so because of their interest in Jennifer Love Hewitt. While I'm not in the film's target age group, I am not so old that the charms of the aforementioned Ms. Love Hewitt were wasted on me.

Whether or not you are interested in the hot young starlet, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT actually turned out to be an agreeable little teen-age comedy that transcends its target demographic. Hey, if you went to high school within the last thirty years, you can relate to the story or at least remember the type people depicted in the film. CAN'T HARDLY WAIT is set at a post high school graduation party with all the teenaged stereotypes in attendance. You have the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the stoners, the bimbos, the wannabes, the clueless and the social outcasts all brought together for this once in a lifetime event.

During the course of the evening, romances blossom, lives are changed and good times are had by almost all. While CAN'T HARDLY WAIT has an ensemble cast and follows a number of divergent stories, the plight of one Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) is the centerpiece of the film. Preston has been in love with Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) since the moment he laid eyes on her in freshman year. Despite Preston’s undying love, Amanda has spent the last four years as the girlfriend of the school’s football hero. Preston looks upon the party as his final opportunity to make a play for the girl of his dreams, after fate leaves Amanda suddenly available. CAN'T HARDLY WAIT features a number of very funny performances including Seth Green as the "homeboy" wannabe and Charlie Korsmo as the nerd who reinvents himself. The cast of CAN’T HARDLY WAIT also features Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Michelle Brookhurst, Jenna Elfman and Melissa Joan Hart.

Columbia TriStar Home Video offers CAN'T HARDLY WAIT in both wide screen and full screen presentations on opposite sides of the DVD. There is nothing wrong with the full screen presentation, other than the film being in the wrong aspect ratio. If you want to see the film the way it was meant to be seen, then go directly to anamorphic enhanced wide screen presentation. In wide screen, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT is presented with its 1.85:1 theatrical framing pretty much in tact. The Letterboxed transfer is a colorful, well defined knockout. There is detail to spare, while the rich, well saturated hues reproduce without a trace of noise or distortion. Columbia TriStar's authoring facility has done another impressive job of hiding almost all evidence of digital artifacting.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a good mix, with a number of nice little directional effects. No, this isn't an action movie, so don't expect to be overwhelmed by a wall of sound. CAN'T HARDLY WAIT is a party movie with a lot of party music and the mix does a great job bringing out the music. The DVD also has a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack and a French language track. Subtitles are available in English and French.

The interactive menus have a nice looking, yet simple design that gives one access to the DVD supplements. A running audio commentary is the DVD’s main supplement. Featured on the commentary track are co-writer/directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, producers Jenno Topping and Betty Thomas and cast member Seth Green. If you like the movie, you'll find the commentary worth a listen. Also included amongst the supplements is the Smash Mouth music video for "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby", plus a theatrical trailer.


Can't Hardly Wait (1998)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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