The first feature-length film from writer/director Kris Avedisian begins with the realization that something has been lost. The item—a wallet—belongs to investment banker Peter (Jesse Wakeman), who has misplaced it on a bus somewhere between New York and Warwick, Rhode Island, where he has reluctantly returned, intending to dispatch all that remains of his grandmother, including her actual remains, before catching the next bus back to the city.
But best laid plans, as the saying goes, often go awry; even more so for anyone lacking the conventional items carried in a wallet, such as cash, credit cards and ID. This leaves Peter at the mercy of former neighbor and childhood friend Donald, played by Avedisian with a choppy bowl cut-mullet hybrid and outdated aviator eyeglasses, to lend Peter both the mobility and legitimacy needed to complete the business of mourning.
Donald is the title character, but at first it's difficult to believe this tactless dimwit capable of displaying any emotion other than awkward expectancy. “Do you still masturbate?” he asks without a whiff of humor as he shows off the poster of his favorite porn star he has plastered above his bed. It's just one of the many candid questions he has for his friend when they first meet up again.
Not just Donald's bedroom décor and taste in music but everything he says and does date his arrested development to high school, and he's eager and able to resume his intimacy with Peter as though his friend has just returned from a mere summer vacation. Hence Peter's vacillations between amusement and discomfort as Donald basically holds him hostage for the day.
In the time since Thomas Wolfe declared that you can't go home again, each generation of filmmakers has made it a mission to corroborate the claim. From Jack Nicholson's sarcastic roughneck in “Five Easy Pieces” to Zach Braff's impotent proto-hipster in “Garden State,” those who have dared to venture out and then come back prevail as the hero, or anti-hero, in Nicholson's case, of their own story. Rarely has the contrasting point of view of the one who's been left behind overtaken the screen in such a raw and overwhelming way.
For Peter, there's no escaping Donald, and so it is, too, the condition of the viewer. There's no relief even when the real world pierces the fog of depression and sad nostalgia. It seems there was never a time in which Donald wasn't already a loser or Peter, a secretive poser; only moments in which they're allowed to pretend otherwise and only to themselves.