Hangin’ with the Homeboys (Vasquez, 1991)

Kind of like After Hours meets Swingers, but with an emphasis on race, Joseph B. Vasquez’s independent hit attempts to cram a lot of class consciousness into 90 minutes, and I have to give it credit for pulling most of it off. This story of four friends (two Puerto Rican’s and two African American’s) out on the town in Manhattan deals with minorities issues in smart and complex ways. The film hits some speed-bumps when it begins to land on the obvious plot points, those concerned with a “night out on the town” story – getting into the club, buying beer, hollering at girls etc. More importantly, there’s a sadness to every performance, specifically Doug E. Doug’s portrayal of a faux radical, and the overall arc of the four men shines each in a three dimensional light. By the end, it’s no wonder the four end up separated and alone, faced with an unceratin future staring them in the face. Some of the men decide to act, others are destined to stay stagnant. Hangin’ with the Homeboys is a crafty film dealing with these universal lessons told from an essential and honest point of view.

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