A small-time L.A. hood (writer/director Jon Favreau) and his mouthy, moronic pal (Vince Vaughn) are sent to Manhattan on a mysterious money-laundering errand, wondering all the time exactly what they’re walking into. Favreau’s direction is sharp and naturalistic, emphasizing the strengths of his script (streetwise, nervous energy and harsh, deadpan humor) while disguising its shortcomings (a tendency to anticlimax and an unfocused feel to the last few scenes). Favreau and Vaughn (re-teamed from their indie success Swingers
) work well together; their scenes have such ease and immediacy that it’s easy to believe these men have been friends since childhood. Others in the cast are Peter Falk as their employer, Sean Combs as their New York contact and Famke Janssen as Favreau’s stripper girlfriend.