Waste of Space (2011) – By Matt Barry

Duncan (Jacob Sherburne) is a Harvard graduate living in a basement apartment, littered with beer bottles and debris. One night, he hears a loud crash outside his door, and finds a burglar who has a fallen on the mass of empty beer bottles piled outside. The burglar turns out to be an old friend, Jimmy (John Pizzuti), now down on his luck and whom Duncan hasn’t seen in years.

Inviting him in to offer an icepack for his head, they exchange stories about what each has been up to for the past several years. Jimmy, after a year of college, turned to burglary, while Duncan has been set up with a high paying job in Brookline, courtesy of his father. The encounter with Jimmy changes Duncan’s perspective. When Duncan receives a phone call from his girlfriend Tess (Katie Cummings), and opens a package containing a gift for him, he realizes how good he has things.

Waste of Space is an effective character transformation piece, but it lacks the necessary build-up and emotional pack to make Duncan’s revelation at the end as powerful as it could be. The performances are strong, but we ultimately aren’t given enough to care about in terms of Duncan’s situation, other than a brief indication – during his conversation with Jimmy – that his girlfriend is less than thrilled about the condition in which he keeps his apartment.

Director Sean Meehan keeps the filming style subtle in order to highlight the performances of his leads. John Pizzuti delivers perhaps the film’s strongest performance, expressing an interesting combination of regret, dignity and empathy in his role.

Waste of Space is presented by Cross River Pictures, and is available for viewing online at http://www.vimeo.com/23521222