Teenage angst re­vis­ited in in­die “Don­ald Cried”

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Mark Jenk­ins by Wake­man and Kyle Espeleta, who also has a small part). The de­vice that fa­cil­i­tates the re­union is a miss­ing wal­let: Peter finds him­self with­out cash and credit cards and turns to Don­ald for a loan. He doesn’t get much money, be­cause the

Com­edy. Un­rated. 85 min­utes.

The for­mer high school bud­dies who be­come reac­quainted in “Don­ald Cried” do so un­der awk­ward cir­cum­stances. Then again, just about ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in this low-bud­get comic drama is awk­ward. The movie is so fix­ated on em­bar­rass­ing lega­cies that it ends with a Milli Vanilli song.

Peter (Jesse Wake­man) re­turns to his snowy Rhode Is­land home town with two goals: set­tling the af­fairs of his re­cently de­ceased grand­mother, and avoid­ing Don­ald (Kristo­pher Ave­disian, the movie’s di­rec­tor). The two were met­al­head best friends some 25 years ago, but Peter has grown up and got­ten a Man­hat­tan job he vaguely de­scribes as be­ing “in fi­nance.” He sus­pects, rightly, that Don­ald has not changed.

Forc­ing the two to­gether is es­sen­tial to the script, which was writ­ten by Ave­disian (from a story con­ceived lives at home, works in a bowl­ing al­ley and sleeps un­der an au­to­graphed poster of a naked porn star.

That de­vel­op­ment is in­evitable, although the movie does muster a few nifty sur­prises on its way to Peter’s ul­ti­mate sur­ren­der. There’s a bizarre rev­e­la­tion at a nurs­ing home and an abortive hookup with a high school crush (Louisa Krause) at a highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate venue.

“Don­ald Cried” takes a purely func­tional ap­proach to sto­ry­telling. Ted Ar­cidi has an out­ra­geous turn as Don­ald’s bel­liger­ent boss, but the fo­cus is on Wake­man and Ave­disian’s un­wa­ver­ing per­for­mances. These are en­cap­su­lated in a scene where the two men pose for a photo: Don­ald is as frisky as a puppy, while Peter has a forced smile and one eye on the door.

View­ers may iden­tify with him. “Don­ald Cried” suc­ceeds on its own mod­est terms, but watch­ing its ti­tle char­ac­ter can be painful. This is not a movie for peo­ple who’d just as soon for­get their own teenage mor­ti­fi­ca­tions.

Kyle Espeleta Pho­tog­ra­phy - The Or­chard

Jesse Wake­man, left, and Kris Ave­disian in “Don­ald Cried.”

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