Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can't Hardly Wait (DVD)

Can't Hardly Wait (DVD) Release date: 1998. Performers: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green. Studio: Columbia Pictures Corporation. Director: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan. Screenplay: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan. ISBN: 9780671026455.

Plot summary: Can't Hardly Wait tells the story of the senior class of Huntington High as they spend their graduation night at their final high school party. The lives of the students intertwine as nice guy Preston (Ethan Embry) tries to declare his long-time love for popular girl Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who has just been dumped by cool jock Mike (Peter Facinelli.) Also involved in the party antics are Preston's anti-social best friend Denise (Lauren Ambrose) and her former friend turned "gangster wannabe" Kenny (Seth Green) as they discover their friendship never ended, and geeky William (Charlie Korsmo) as he seeks revenge for years of torment from Mike the rest of the popular crowd. As the night continues, things don't go as planned for the seniors, but the party becomes a chance to right past wrongs and finish high school without any regrets.

Critical evaluation: Often overlooked by critics, Can't Hardly Wait, though somewhat outdated, is one of the most entertaining and heartwarming movies about life before and after high school. The all-star cast brings their own unique personality to each of the characters, representing their own high school niche. Although the story of Preston's love for Amanda is the focal point of the film, one of the most touching plotlines is that of Denise and Kenny, former elementary school friends who grew apart during middle school. This is a sad but common tale for many students, and will certainly resonate with teens and adults alike as they reflect on their own experiences while watching the film. Despite the late 90's references and absence of cell phones, Can't Hardly Wait is a fun yet poignant story about closing childhood doors and entering adulthood.

Reader's annotation: The seniors of Huntington High are in for a wild night as they celebrate their graduation with one final party. Relationships are ended, new flames are kindled, and past wrongs are righted as the seniors surge forward into the next phase of their lives.

About the author (screenplay): Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan are a writing team who, together, have written the screenplays for many popular and successful films. Can't Hardly Wait is one of two films that was both written and directed by the team (the other is Josie and the Pussycats, 2001). Elfont and Kaplan met eachother while attending New York University's Tisch School of Arts, and, after both moving to Los Angeles, decided to form a writing and directing team. Some of Elfont and Kaplan's other screenplays include A Very Brady Sequel (1996), Surviving Christmas (2004), and Leap Year (2010). Can't Hardly Wait was the team's directorial debut. (from

Genre: Comedy

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:Social aspects of high school
Dating and relationships
Teenage sexuality
Teen partying (drinking)

Reading level/Interest age: MPAA PG-13 for teen drinking, sexuality and language.

Challenge issues:
Sexual content
Teen drinking

Challenge counterpoints:
MPAA rating of PG-13 and warnings about language and content act as guide for parent.
Recommend parent watch film before children if concerned about content.
Recommend parent discuss items checked out from library with children if concerned child might check-out item from library and view without their knowledge.
Recommend parent watch film with child.

Reasons for inclusion:
Crically acclaimed and popular

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