A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 51 – Can’t Hardly Wait

Can’t Hardly Wait – April 20th, 2010

Thinking about it, I should hate this movie. It’s full of comedy of embarrassment moments, it’s got some amazingly horrible stereotypes, the nerd becomes cool by drinking, etc. But I don’t hate it. I really quite enjoy it. Part of it is that the female lead shares my name and she’s actually got a good head on her shoulders as a character. Part of it is that a lot of the stereotypes are a little twisted or really obviously over-the-top to the point of satire. And part of it is that it ends well for a lot of the people you’re supposed to give a shit about. And part of it is Seth Green. A big part of it is Seth Green. Okay, and Charlie Korsmo fits my skinny geek thing and hey, when this came out that wasn’t an age gap to speak of for me so let’s not quibble over that being skeevy.

On the surface the movie is a romantic comedy for the high school set and is supposed to center on the character of Preston, who’s a somewhat quirky but generally popular enough guy who wants to be a professional writer and his long-unrequited crush on the homecoming queen/prom queen/all around most popular girl in school, Amanda. He’s had a thing for her since freshman year, but she’s been dating the stereotypical lead quarterback, Mike, since freshman year and only just broke up with him. The night of graduation, the newly single Amanda will be at a party and Preston plans to attend and finally confess his feelings for her, which he just knows she’ll return! And that’s supposed to be the A plot. Of course it doesn’t work out that way, but really, that’s not what I watch the movie for. The B and C plots are a lot better and the party itself and all the little bits and pieces and one-shot scenes are where the humor really is.

The B plot, according to me, would be Preston’s friend Denise, a loner who didn’t even want to go to the party but accompanied Preston under protest. Once there, she gets trapped in a bathroom with Kenny, played by Seth Green. Kenny and Denise were friends when they were kids, but then Kenny wanted to be cool and Denise wasn’t cool so Kenny started wearing big jeans and listening to rap and generally being a huge poser in an attempt to fit in somehow and Denise made a hobby of rolling her eyes at him. You can probably figure out where that plot goes. But for all its ridiculousness, Kenny and his plot, and Lauren Ambrose’s Denise make for a lot of great dialogue and interactions.

The C plot is then the nerds, led by William (Charlie Korsmo), and their plan to get revenge on Mike for tormenting William for years. This is the plot that really makes me think I should hate this movie. I mean, the nerds are so incredibly stereotypical it’s almost painful. William’s friends both wear X-Files t-shirts and spend the entire movie talking about Star Wars and Star Trek and there are re-enactments of the Vader and Luke fight at the end of Empire Strikes Back and they argue over who gets to be represented by the Boba Fett action figure when they make their plans and I’d be pissed. Except um. Yeah, I would so hang out with those guys. And William goes into the party to try and lure Mike out and ends up drinking and having a great time and it turns out girls really dig him and he sings Paradise City and suddenly he’s popular! Drinking solves everything! Except it turns out that no, no it really doesn’t. It makes for some great scenes, but it’s not really a magical fix, so that’s cool.

And then there’s the party in general. Full of little moments and running jokes like the yearbook girl and the kleptomaniac kid and Mike’s friends and their girlfriends. Really, Preston and Amanda? Eh, sure, fun plot. But I’m not in it for the romance. I’m in it for the comedy. And if you do watch this? Stick around through at least a few minutes of the credits for William’s friends’ ending. It affirms my belief that the people who made the movie don’t hate the geeks, they might well have been the geeks themselves.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can’t Hardly Wait

April 20, 2010

Can’t Hardly Wait

Amanda, the popular girl in this movie who has just broken up with her dumb jock boyfriend, has almost exactly the same speech that Lea Thompson’s character Amanda had in Some Kind of Wonderful. The one about how she doesn’t want to be alone and doesn’t know how to be just herself. It was at that moment that I decided to turn off my brain. If you try to view this movie in the light of teen romance/comedies that preceded it your’e going to be disappointed. But if you can just turn your brain off there are a lot of fun stupid moments to enjoy.

It’s really a movie made up of little vignettes. There’s a plot about all these high school cliques coming together at a big party after graduation. There’s Mark from Empire Records who has this total unrequited crush on that Amanda girl. There’s the nerd with his revenge plan against Amanda’s ex the school jock. There’s Seth Green as “Special K” the wannabe hipster. There’s Denise who is basically Daria, the cool aloof girl (she’s my favorite part of the movie actually.) And there’s a big supporting cast of characters like the two nerds waiting to jump the jock, the guy who’s all like “hey you remember that time,” the girl who wants everybody to sign her yearbook, the high school band that just never seems to get to play any songs at the party… and so on. They’re all at this party for different reasons – and then stuff happens.

And that’s all there really is to say about that. I’m not trying to be harsh on this movie. I know it’s not going to be a favorite of mine like Empire Records or Some Kind of Wonderful, but it’s a fun little nothing of a movie. It has some great bits like the running gag with the kid who keeps stealing things (it made me chuckle, what can I say?) Everybody learns something about themselves (or not.)

I’m not certain how to take this movie. I think it’s intended to be parody, or maybe a deconstruction of a teen comedy. But as parody it is too invested in its plot and characters, and as deconstruction it’s certainly referential enough, but it doesn’t really break any new ground. It does a lot of things that other teen comedy/romances have done before and done better. (Like stealing the bit from the end of Animal House and Fast Times at Ridgemont High with the blurbs telling us what happens to the characters after the movie is over.) It just doesn’t seem to have a place of its own.

Wait… wait… that’s my brain turning back on. Sorry about that. Shut up, brain… just enjoy the funny moving pictures. There. That’s better. Heh. Funny pictures.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment