Prince Avalanche movie poster
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Prince Avalanche
Prince Avalanche movie poster

Prince Avalanche Movie Review

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There was a time when David Gordon Green had the respect of movie critics. Then he made Your Highness and The Sitter. Thankfully, he's back in form with the understated Prince Avalanche, a comedy-drama starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Whether anyone will care is another matter.

Rudd and Hirsch star as Alvin and Lance, two road workers who are spending their summer in the mountains repainting and repairing a road that was damaged in a wildfire. While Alvin relishes in the isolation, Lance is stir-crazy. Alvin likes living off the land; Lance just bought a new watch with a calculator. Alvin is also dating Lance's sister.  Needless to say, the powder keg is about to blow.

Prince Avalanche is about two guys who work together, become enemies and then become friends. There's not much more of a plot to the movie than that, unless you count scenes with the two painting yellow stripes on a road or hallucinating that an old woman whose house burned down in the fire is talking to them.

Both Rudd and Hirsch deliver solid performances in their respective roles, though neither character really stretches their range. The movie itself is mildly funny, and at only 94 minutes the story is fast-paced and ever-evolving.

While entertaining, Prince Avalanche works better as a comedy than as a drama. The hallucination (or ghost?) sequences don't work very well and I struggled to understand how they fit into the story. The friction between the two men plays better for laughs than anything else, even though it's clear Green was aiming for something deeper and more pronounced.

I didn't really get it, or at the least I didn't care.

Prince Avalanche is a well made movie with good performances by the two leads and a decent dose of nuanced comedy. But this is a movie that critics will like more than the average moviegoer, because when all is said and done, there is only so much to latch onto.  At least it's a big step up from Your Highness.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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