A quartet of young, virile male misfits - two black, two Puerto Rican, head out to take on the town. That town happens to be Manhattan, and it's chewed up and spit out higher achieving fellas than these in its time; safe to say they're about to learn a thing or two.
The plot premise chosen by another talented young black filmmaker is familiar: one night on the town, a string of comic disasters. And the proposition that his central characters each learn something from the adventure that will change his life verges on cliche. But his celebration of that universal event - The Boys' Night Out - is fresh and delightful.
In a clever opening scene Vasquez alarms and then disarms by introducing his quartet of Homeboys - two of them Puerto Rican, two of them black - engaging ina brutal subway mugging that turns out to be a street theatre joke. By poking fun at stereotypes and overturning expectations, Vasquez engagingly makes his points and succeeds in conveying his affection for four young men you wouldn't want to encounter in a dark street who are, after all, really likeable, funny, ordinary guys.
Willie (Doug) is a saddo on welfare who blames all his problems on racism. Johnny (Leguizamo) works in a supermarket and yearns after the neighbourhood hot tomato. Ladykiller Vinny (Serrano) is really named Fernando but likes to pretend he's Italian. Tom (Joyner) is a telesalesman trying to hustle an acting break, reluctantly dragged into Vinny's Friday night action plan because he alone possesses a set of wheels. And off they embark with a vague fantasy of taking Manhattan by storm and carrying off desirable women. South Bronx goofs to a man, however, they make a hash of this leg-over expedition by crashing everything from the car, a posh club and a sleazy porno peep show to a party where they claim to be friends of Jose's in the belief that "hey, it's a Puerto Rican party. Somebody in there's gotta be named Jose!"
The performances are hip, funny and smart, the situations embarrasingly recognisable and the pace energetic and assured. Pleasing, a giggle and - hey! - not bad for a boys' night out.