This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
“Hangin' with the Homeboys” was originally set for release in May and June, but then “Boyz N the Hood” made its big splash, and “Straight Out of Brooklyn” got a lot of publicity, and “Hangin' “ was held over until fall. The theory must have been that audiences would confuse the titles - or that maybe the market wasn't big enough to support three films about young inner-city men looking for direction in their lives.
The fact is, the films aren't that similar - except that all three are good and honest portraits of a generation unsure of what to do with itself. “Boyz” took place in the “hood” of Los Angeles, where palm trees and carports confer a superficial middle-class look to the poor neighborhoods. “Brooklyn” took place in the world of projects and unemployment. “Hangin' “ takes place in the South Bronx, in a high-energy big-city world where the characters talk faster and live a roller-coaster experience where it is just barely plausible they could have all of these adventures in one 24-hour period.
The movie is about four friends, two blacks, two Hispanics (although one of the Puerto Ricans renames himself “Vinny” and wants to pose as Italian). They set out one evening looking for action, and find it in various forms, but at the same time they also discover a few truths before the sun comes up.
The cast is relatively unknown, but experienced and talented, and includes the standup comics Doug E. Doug and Mario Joyner, character actors John Leguizamo and Nestor Serrano, and TV actresses Kimberly Russell and Mary B. Ward. The day may come when this movie, like “American Graffiti” and “Diner,” will be remembered because so many in its cast went on to become famous.