Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) work long hours in the country painting road lines and installing those reflective metal posts on the sides of roads. Lance is miserable spending all his time away from the city where he could be pursuing women, but Alvin loves being out in nature, camping and working for a living. Alvin’s dating Lance’s sister, who is stuck at home raising her child while Lance works hard to send them money.
There are a lot of things about Prince Avalanche that I should like. The small cast and singular setting are nicely theatrical, and Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are both great actors. However, I’m frankly getting really bored by independent comedies that are quirky for quirky’s sake. I feel like the only person who should be allowed to make this style of film is Wes Anderson because while Prince Avalanche is more grounded in reality than a lot of Anderson’s work, this fact makes the random surreal elements that much stranger and annoying.
As much as I typically like Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, I feel like neither are being fully utilized here. Hirsch does have a clear character want in his need to have sex as soon as possible, but that’s about it, which makes his character arc pretty uninteresting to me. Rudd’s character feels at home in this outdoor environment, and he tries to relate to Lance throughout knowing he doesn’t really want to be there, but then we get weird scenes spliced in, like when Alvin is walking around a house that has been burned down pretending it’s his home and he’s coming home to his girlfriend at the end of his day at work. Quirky for quirky’s sake.
It turns out that Prince Avalanche is based on a German film called Either Way. This wasn’t surprising given the more surreal elements that I might expect from a European art film, but I would bet money that Either Way holds together much better in terms of tone and the establishment of rules within the world of the movie. Prince Avalanche feels too inconsistent throughout, and that makes it difficult to relate to the characters or care about their story.
Special Features include deleted scenes, a couple of behind the scenes featurettes, interviews with the cast and crew, audio commentary with director David Gordon Green and crew, and the theatrical trailer. Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Magnolio Home Entertainment on November 12.