The good news about Can't Hardly Wait first: It's less intent on poking fun at minorities and degrading teenage girls than some other teen comedies of its ilk; say, Porky's. This is a fairly harmless and good-natured puff of fluff.
The bad news is that there's nothing else to be said in favor of Can't Hardly Wait. A formulaic trifle, this movie provides yet another glimpse of a wild high school grad night blow-out. Plenty of arrogant jocks, bespectacled nerds, bimbos and wannabes are on hand, but the characters are presented so broadly that it's impossible to care about their fates--even Jennifer Love Hewitt's, who is clearly the main draw in this cast. Ethan Embry as her "hopeless romantic" would-be boyfriend is actively annoying, doing his best impression of Richard Dreyfuss in American Graffiti. The soundtrack is usually a major draw in a teen film, but in this one, the song snippets from Barry Manilow to Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott turn over so rapidly (the better to pack the tie-in album with hits, one assumes) that they add no atmosphere or support to the goings-on.
Can't Hardly Wait is a stale rehash of dozens of teen party movies from the past four decades--of course, a young enough audience won't have seen those earlier films, so it might seem fresh to them. Most audiences over the age of 15 won't be able to hardly wait for the film to be over.
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry and Seth Green
Directed and written by: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont
Produced by: Jenno Topping and Betty Thomas
Rating: PG-13, for teen drinking and sexuality, and for language.
Running time: 95 min.