David Gordon Green’s return to independent cinema after a string of hit and miss Hollywood films (Pineapple Express, Your Highness,and The Sitter), Prince Avalanche may very well be the definition of mediocrity.
Languishing in its droopy plot, Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s brother Lance (Emile Hirsch) leave the city (somewhere in central Texas) for a soothing summer painting bright yellow traffic lines down the center of a seemingly never-ending road. The film is set in 1988, a few months after the devastating wildfires that spread across the Texas countryside. Alvin is away from his wife (never seen, though heard during a distressing phone call) doing some re-evaluation of his marriage. Lance on the other hand, is bored stiff; he misses girls and getting “fully lamb-chopped”.
Aside from the conversations Alvin and Lance engage in – most of which pertain to women and loneliness – not much transpires during Prince Avalanche’s overlong 94-minute runtime. There’s a unique silence to the movie, especially when the two insecure men butt heads.
Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play off each other well enough as Hirsch receives the better lines, channeling some strange modern version of Jack Black, but once again Rudd is typecast as the discontent and perplexed husband. Alvin has all the advice in the world when it comes to the beauty of having a child and being in love, but scarcely applies any of his own advice to himself.
If Green was attempting to make the polar opposite of the loud and obnoxious Your Highness, he succeeded. Prince Avalanche is about as low-key and subtle as contemporary filmmaking has to offer. Unfortunately, Green’s latest effort is also one of the more grating and sluggish films in recent memory.