"Hangin' with the Homeboys" is a scrapbook filled with postcards of modern urban life. It's superficial -- putting a pretty veneer on some ugly aspects of life in New York -- but it's attractive and its pages turn effortlessly.
Director Joseph Vasquez's first feature-length movie follows four young men from the South Bronx on a boys' night out in August. This is a movie filled with symmetries (two of the four are Hispanic and two are black) and it strives for inclusiveness. Except that none of the group is a scary punk, they cover every stereotype associated with poor youth of their background:
Johnny (John Leguizamo) is a good-natured, college-destined nerd; Willie (Doug E. Doug) is a natural clown who -- with a strange mix of benignity and anger -- blames all his misfortune on his blackness; Tom (Mario Joyner) could be called an out-of-work actor were it not for the fact that he's never worked as one; and Vinny (Nestor Serrano) is really a Fernando, but is so enchanted with Italianness that he's not only changed his name but also keeps a photo of Frank Sinatra on his mirror.