Movie Review: 'Prince Avalanche' goes downhill

For the News-DemocratAugust 16, 2013 

What It's About

A dull plodding exercise that taxes the public appeal of Paul Rudd ("Role Models") and Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild"), "Prince Avalanche" is writer-director David Gordon Green's puzzling choice to remake an obscure Iceland film into a quirky buddy picture.

Alvin (Rudd) and Lance (Hirsch) are highway maintenance workers in the middle of nowhere, a burnt-out forest in Bastrop State Park in central Texas, for the summer.

Nothing much happens, and we're forced to endure bromance trappings -- two opposites who argue and bond -- but little else in terms of a plot. The introduction of a ghost story enlivens this otherwise snoozefest.

Performances

Rudd, usually a charmer, is woefully miscast as an uptight, bossy dweeb who enjoys solitude. His Alvin is perfectly happy with solo "me" time, and appreciates silence. He is dating the sister of slacker Lance (Hirsch), who is bored out of his mind being stuck in nature. Both of them are wasted in these half-baked roles.

What Works

Snippets of clever dialogue and turns of phrase are like the appearance of a living bud in the parched earth.

What Doesn't Work

The film is a meandering mess, a nearly complete waste of time. Green, once a director of great promise (rent "Undertow"), is content to fritter his talent with stoner comedies ("Pineapple Express") and indies ("Snow Angels") that are so uneven in tone they produce cinematic whiplash. Yes, he did that awful "Your Highness."

His work is becoming a little too precious for my liking.

1 1/2 stars out of 4

Director: David Gordon Green

Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch

Length: 1:34

Rated: R for sexual content

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