Skip To Content

    I Rewatched "Can't Hardly Wait" As An Adult And It Was Kinda Problematic

    The movie that was synonymous with Smash Mouth long before Shrek.

    I recently revisited Cruel Intentions and She's All That, two of my fave movies as a teen, with somewhat mixed results (Cruel Intentions has NOT aged well, She's All That actually has). I couldn't continue on this trip down memory lane without making an immediate stop at Can't Hardly Wait, which I was completely obsessed at the time. Here's how that experience went down...

    Columbia Pictures

    1. I am VERY nervous that this movie hasn't stood the test of time.

    2. I totally thought the opening music was gonna be Smash Mouth. 


    3. This movie is definitely responsible for my love of all-in-one-night stories.


    4. The use of whispers to set up the plot is pretty effective.


    5. Oh hey baby Ethan Embry! He’s so damn endearing.


    6. I love the yearbook-style intros to each character.


    7. I thought Preston’s obsession with Amanda was soooo romantic when I was 12. Now it just reeks of possessive Nice Guy™ BS.


    8. I owned basically everything Denise is wearing right now.

    9. Here’s Smash Mouth! Playing for Preston’s flashback about Amanda. Perfect.


    10. Preston, my buddy, my pal, my guy, eating the same kind of Pop Tart does NOT mean you’re destined for each other.


    11. This is peak high school logic, to be fair.


    12. Denise is so done with Preston’s shit. She’s now my favourite character.


    13. I don’t know why, but it amuses me so much that Mike Dexter grew up to be Carlisle Cullen. Like I could not get through a single Twilight movie without at some point thinking to myself, ‘Heh. He’s Mike Dexter.’

    Columbia Pictures

    14. I didn’t realise Sean Patrick Thomas was one of the jocks in this!


    15. These guys do not remotely look like actual teenagers.


    16. “The future is women.” Mike Dexter, feminist icon. 


    17. (He didn’t mean it that way but let’s go with it.)


    18. These jocks are pure garbage.


    19. That one guy’s striped sweater is giving me serious Pacey Witter vibes, though. I’m pretty sure Pacey owned that exact item of clothing, actually. 


    20. Whatever happened to the guy who plays William? A.k.a. Robin Williams’ son in Hook. 


    21. Oh my god I just googled him and he became a hot shot lawyer! The more you know.


    22. William sure knows how to hold a grudge. Like, buddy, throw out those grody stained jeans. Let it go.


    23. His delivery of the “I saw no third dimension” line is so funny.


    24. Of course his nerd friends are wearing X-Files t-shirts.


    25. Their revenge plan is so homophobic and off. What is it with ‘90s movies and blackmailing jocks about being gay?


    26. The transitions between each character are so well done. 


    27. Ah, Kenny Fisher. The poster boy for cultural appropriation.

    Columbia Pictures

    28. Omg the Shermanator is in this too! He’s the klepto kid!


    29. Love some casual homophobia. Smdh.


    30. Kenny’s “love kit” is pretty hilarious.


    31. “Why do we have a radio station on that plays Barry Manilow?” That’s an excellent question, Denise.


    32. Every time Denise rolls her eyes at Preston, a year gets added to my life.


    33. “I heard that song’s about his dog.” I seriously did not appreciate Denise enough when I was a kid.


    34. I love the dress this girl (whose party it is) is wearing. 


    35. Oh YEAH Melissa Joan Hart is the yearbook girl! I was totally this girl in high school. Like, I even got my Year 8 “boyfriend” to sign mine, even though I hadn't spoken to him in years because he dumped me for being “frigid” – and then told everyone he went out with me on a bet.


    36. (Yes, I had a total Laney Boggs moment, except the guy was no Freddie Prinze Jr.)


    37. All of these girls desperately trying to get away from Kenny are really relatable. 


    38. “No one can go in the fancy room!” Girl your whole house is fancy.


    39. Omg yes! Breckin Meyer and Donald Faison are the band dudes! Or, as I knew them at the time, “the guys from Clueless”. 


    40. “They’re gonna kick you out if you don’t drink.” These nerds are such flat stereotypes. 


    41. “I am a sex machine.” “Would you like to touch my penis?” Ah, the height of humour when I was 12 years old.

    Columbia Pictures

    42. Mike Dexter is a babe but uggggh what a docuhe. 


    43. Jaime Pressly is one of Amanda’s friends! 


    44. I was obsessed with Amanda’s outfit when I was younger. Like, I definitely spent way too long trying to find a singlet in just the right shade of blue. So basic!


    45. Her hair is glorious though, look at the way it’s blowing in the gentle breeze that seems to be made just for her.


    46. Smash Mouth is playing again!


    47. Seth Green is so funny in this role.


    48. “His wardrobe alone leaves him open for public mockery.” Denise once again being a queen. 


    49. How did she put up with Preston for all of high school though?


    50. I do love that they’re good friends with no hint of romance between them (except for the passing mention that they dated for a week in Grade 8). 


    51. Denise standing there awkwardly trying to look like she’s not actually awkward is me at any social event. 


    52. “Who does he think he is? Brad Pitt?” “And you’re, like, Gwyneth!” Hahaha what a reference. 


    53. Kenny’s internal monologue is cracking me up. 


    54. I definitely went to school with several guys who dressed just like this.


    55. Those baggy jeans! Ugh ‘90s boy fashion was so so bad.

    Columbia Pictures

    56. Omg it’s Amber Benson!
 Willow's two great loves in one movie.

    57. “It’s terrible. Nobody drink the beer. The beer has gone bad.” Okay I just laughed out loud at that. 


    58. Clea Duvall is in this! OF COURSE!


    59. “Wanna dance?” “I’m allergic.” Moooooood.


    60. This is pretty funny.


    61. “Y’know what I’m sayin’?” No Kenny, I did not actually understand a single thing you just said. 


    62. “Rachel’s parents have mirrors above the bed!” This is so gross on, like, multiple levels. 


    63. Oh man, remember when everyone wore those thick black glasses with the coloured lenses? What a look. 


    64. The bit about Donald Faison’s hat is great. 


    65. This girl is wearing one of those zig zag headbands! All of the fashion in this is giving me major flashbacks.


    66. Lmao @ Kenny not knowing when to put on the condom. 


    67. More casual homophobia. Sigh. 


    68. The girl whose party it is is regretting her whole life right now.

    Columbia Pictures

    69. Kenny getting ready to have sex in the bathroom is so good. 


    70. “She’s going to think I got the premature evacuation.” I definitely didn’t understand so much of what was happening here when I was younger. 


    71. I’m laughing so much at Denise walking in on Kenny and accidentally locking them both in the bathroom. 


    72. Also the band fight is great.


    73. Is it weird to admit that Jennifer Love Hewitt’s boobs in this movie were, like, all of my boob goals as a pre-teen?


    74. I definitely owned a black crochet top just like this one Denise is wearing. 


    75. Amanda just wants someone to listen to her, but she’s not even safe with her second cousin.


    76. This movie is really about how all men are terrible.


    77. “You were practically begging for it.” Seriously, put him in the bin.


    78. The biggest change in my opinion of this movie from when I was a kid to now is that I no longer have much sympathy for sad obsesso Preston. 


    79. “See the salt on this pretzel. The stars are...god’s salt. And he’s just waiting to eat us.” Hahahaha William’s performance is A+ in this.


    80. WAIT SELMA BLAIR IS IN THIS TOO??? Who ISN’T in this movie?!


    81. This catfishing joke was way ahead of it’s time.


    82. Smash Mouth is at it again!

    Columbia Pictures

    83. “There’s a mirror right there. Take a look. You’re white!” Denise dragging Kenny is reason no. 367 she’s the best.


    84. Finally he dropped the accent.


    85. Preston really does have old man taste in radio stations. 


    86. Jenna Elfman! What is SHE doing these days?


    87. Oh I just looked it up and she’s in Fear the Walking Dead, I guess I should watch that show. 


    88. It’s hilarious that a whole plot point hinges on needing to use a pay phone. To call a cab. The ‘90s were wild. 


    89. What was in the fridge???


    90. “Sheep! You are all sheep. Baaa. Baaaa!” It’s really weird realising the lines I thought were SO funny as a 12-year-old were, uh, really not that funny. 


    91. I had no idea who Scott Baio was the first time I watched this movie.


    92. Jenna Elfman is stealing this whole entire movie in the two scenes she’s in. 


    93. Donald Faison ripping off Breckin Meyer’s ruffle is art.

    94. YES the “Paradise City” scene! I love it so much. 


    95. Is it even a teen movie without a ~spontaneous~ song and dance routine?


    96. This movie was responsible for me downloading Guns N’ Roses on Napster when they were not my usual vibe at all. 


    97. The sound is not remotely synced to the visuals. Wow.


    98. Jerry O’Connell! As Trip McNeely! This movie has everything. 


    99. I love how they totally undercut Mike’s fantasy vision of college here.

    Columbia Pictures

    100. Jason Segel is the gross watermelon guy! My mind is blown. 


    101. Yes Amanda! Destroy Mike!


    102. If you drank every time this movie was homophobic, you’d wake up with a hell of a hangover. 


    103. Poor Amanda, surrounded by awful men. 


    104. Honestly her angry reaction to Preston right now is justified. 


    105. William has finally remembered why he’s actually at this party.


    106. “If you need to fit a family of five in your pants.” Denise wins again. 


    107. These two are low-key cute though.


    108. I enjoy Mike apologising to William. 


    109. The band are making up! Honestly this is the plotline I’m loving the most. 


    110. Here for these white boys being put in their place. 


    111. I like that they made Kenny a virgin while Denise isn’t. That dynamic is way too rare in teen stories. 


    112. “Dammit” by Blink 182 is playing. I really do feel 12 again. 


    113. Ugggggggggggh this revenge scene is problematic on so many levels.

    Columbia Pictures

    114. Back to Denise and Kenny, and this awkwardness is so damn real. 


    115. Mike lied to the police for William! I totally forgot he has this little moment of redemption. 


    116. “Maybe it was a hero’s trial.” Preston is kind of the worst.


    117. Mike just undermined all his character growth. The way he rejects William at breakfast is pretty heartbreaking. 


    118. The flash-forwards are so perfect.


    119. Amanda is now wearing a Fiorucci angel shirt. This movie is so ‘90s it hurts. 


    120. I definitely downloaded “Only You” by Yazoo because of this scene.

    121. Of course Preston is name-dropping Kurt Vonnegut.


    122. “Maybe I should just be single for awhile." Yes, Amanda, you definitely should.


    123. When I was younger I loved that he chased after her in the end and they got together. But now I kinda wish they’d left it with her walking away from him. 


    124. Alright, look, this IS pretty cute.


    125. But I want to know what she’s doing with her life beyond writing letters to Preston every day. 


    126. That UFO bit was RIDICULOUS. Go back to Preston and Amanda kissing. 


    127. Okaaaaay, so there were some really dodgy parts in this movie, but I did still really enjoy other aspects of it. Can't Hardly Wait, my problematic fave.

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form