Hangin' With the Homeboys

A beautiful movie. Joseph B. Vasquez's American independent feature focusing on four young friends from the south Bronx—two of them black (Doug E. Doug, Mario Joyner), the other two Puerto Rican (John Leguizamo, Nestor Serrano)—over one long Friday night is so superbly written, acted, and directed that not a single detail rings false. Evocative of early Cassavetes in its sensitivity to what makes its four heroes tick, this comedy drama allows itself only enough plot to make its dramatic points, which proves to be plenty for its purposes. (One can even tolerate the outlandish coincidences involving a couple of female characters because of the insights and developments they make possible.) It's rare indeed that a “commercial” picture offers characters with this much substance and understanding (1991).

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