Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh

Two schmoes — quiet Bobby (Favreau) and live-wire Ricky (Vince Vaughn) — are given a crappy gig by gravel-voiced L.A. mob boss Maxie (Peter Falk), and react in dramatically different ways. Bobby's a good kid; Maxie likes him, encourages his boxing aspirations, even gave him a job driving stripper Jessica (Famke Janssen) to bachelor parties and the like. Trouble is, Bobby is madly in love with Jessica — and pretty crazy about playing daddy to her little girl Chloe (Makenzie Vega), too — and has been getting overzealous about keeping customers from stepping out of line. As far as Bobby's concerned, anyone who so much as looks at Jessica is out of line, and having punched out a paying customer, Maxie needs to teach him a lesson. Ricky, Maxie hates, ever since he gave him a job driving a carpet cleaning van and Ricky somehow "lost" it, but he's persuaded to send him along because Bobby vouches for him. The job is simple: There's a drug deal going down in New York. It's being handled by Maxie's business associate Ruiz (rap impresario Sean "Puffy" Combs, who isn't half bad), but Maxie would like to have a couple of his own guys on the scene to keep an eye on things, represent his interests. Bobby sees the job for what it is, and all he wants to do is keep his head low and do as he's told. Ricky sees it as the beginning of something big, an opportunity to live it up, wiseguy style. And live it up he does: The plane to New York hasn't taken off before he's alienated the stewardess so badly she's threatening legal action. And that's the way the trip goes: Just when it doesn't seem possible that Ricky could act like a bigger jerk, he one-ups himself once again, while Bobby squirms and sweats and tries to patch things up. Favreau's directing debut is a slight but smoothly handled piece of work, and like hipster phenomenon SWINGERS (1996), which he wrote, coasts along largely on the considerable chemistry between Favreau and Vaughn. But Favreau also makes creative use of New York City locations, many of them off the beaten track and all handsomely shot by Chris Doyle, and beefs up the supporting cast with seasoned performers who help anchor the light-as-air story. The film's a trifle, but a beautifully crafted one.