For anyone who saw Ramin Serry's Loveless at the reRun earlier this year, the setup will be familiar, with a differently tailored demographic cut: Frank (Kyle Espeleta), a scruffy, indeterminately twenty-or-thirtysomething, is one of those fuck-ups who coasts by on the occasional spark of the charisma his friends remember so fondly; as in the earlier film, he falls in with a mysterious, moneyed, socially awkward Faustian enabler.
Frank, mostly too drunk to riff, makes the circuit of bar to friend's couch to ex's futon and back around again; the scenes, shot among friends, are intimate and caustically performed—so far, so familiar indie movie about a questionably sympathetic possible directorial stand-in. But Freeloader becomes a not unserious moral dilemma as world-class moocher Frank plays on the utterly unself-aware loneliness of banker, hi-rise condo-dweller, and aspiring stand-up comic Ray, played by Jesse Wakeman with a rubbery, transparently desperate rictus grimace. The turning point of their relationship and the film's showstopper, such as it is, is a not quite squirmingly terrible stand-up routine Ray performs at Hank's Saloon (where filmmaker Raines cameos as another bad stand-up comic, riffing on airline peanuts. What's the deal with them?).