Can't Hardly Wait

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Can't Hardly Wait Movie Poster Image
Boozy party movie where losing inhibitions pays off.
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Underage drinking is made to look really fun. Kids swear and have sex, and that is made to look pretty fun, too.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There aren't too many characters you would want your kids to emulate. Are the role models the sensitive kids who dodge the insults of their peers, while expressing their true feelings? Or are they the wasted bullies who pride themselves on how much action they get? Either way, the pickings are slim.


High school thuggery. Mike tells a room of people that he's going to beat them all up. Weaklings get tossed aside, some punching, and lots of threatening language.


Girls exist for boys' sexual gratification. Kenny has a backpack full of sexual aids and condoms, which he ends up using with Denise in a bathroom. References to group sex, sex for revenge sake, guys with erections, the foreign exchange student asking people, "would you like to touch my penis?" Lots of deep throat kissing and dirty dancing. A couple has sex on the floor in the bathroom covered in towels, then discuss how quickly it was over.


You name it, it gets said: "bitches", "damn," "ho's," "balls,"" f--k," "bulls--t," "asshole," "fag," "boner."


Pop Tarts mentioned and shown, different clothing brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The party is all about underage drinking. Keg beer is poured, kids have bottles and cans of beer in their hands, they drink hard liquor, while others act stoned. Kids and adults smoke cigarettes. Characters intend to get drunk, and when they do, their inhibitions are shed completely, much to the approval of their wasted peers. Mike and William are thrown in jail when the party is busted.

What parents need to know

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycaffinegirl85 September 19, 2011

90's fun yay!

great movie Jennifer Love Hewit so beautiful she looks just like my cousin's wife cool 90's movie yay has Seth Green i love him !
Teen, 13 years old Written bylovethat07 January 18, 2021

love this movie

i absolutely love this movie. it has to be one of my very favs definitely. It may be very chaotic with drinking, kissing and some sex, it has a 90s vibe to it a... Continue reading

What's the story?

As the senior class of Huntington High throws their caps in the air, the gossip network is busy relaying the latest news: Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Mike (Peter Facinelli) have broken up. Preston (Ethan Embry) is thrilled by this news, as he has held a flame for Amanda since her first day at their school. Of course she has no idea who he is, but it becomes his ambition to take fate in his hands and make her his one and only. Meanwhile, a huge party is being thrown that night at a classmate's giant home, and all inhibitions are tossed aside. We see Kenny (Seth Green) make his moves on the ladies, as Denise (Lauren Ambrose) tries to avoid contact with most of her classmates while waiting for Preston. Geeky dudes like William (Charlie Korsmo) get wasted and break out singing and dancing like pros. The next day, everyone goes back to their former roles as jocks, geeks, etc.

Is it any good?

There are some attempts at inner conflict, like Preston's pure devotion to Amanda and his attempts to gain her affections, but these monologues are rather flat and uninspiring. And poor Amanda, who is dumped by her bonehead boyfriend and subjected to lewd come-ons as she realizes that her popularity was based solely on her choice of a date. Girls are called "skanky ho's," boys are rejected by said girls, but are never punished for their lasciviousness.

Seth Green plays Kenny, a dork of memorable proportions, who gets locked in a bathroom with the sullen Denise, played by Lauren Ambrose. Though the two actors are given very little of merit to work with, they attempt to display the vulnerability of the age. Yet, having sex on the bathroom floor does not a screen romance make. To be blunt, this high school movie does not make the grade.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what happens at parties. Is this movie's depiction realistic?  What about all the drinking? Here are some tips for those who are concerned about the "peer-approved" drinking in movies like this.

  • Is Amanda having a good time? How must she feel when every guy she meets wants to get into her underwear? What is the lesson here? That she is not safe unless she has a guy to protect her? And even then? How might a movie like this affect a young female viewer? 

  • Two characters end up in jail. How might that affect their lives after the party?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love school stories

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