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Arts and Entertainment

Paul Rudd Rocks Overalls And A Stache In New Indie Bromance 'Prince Avalanche'

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)
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By Carman Tse / Special to LAist

Sometimes all a guy needs is to get away from the hustle and bustle, and spend some quality time with his fellow man. That's the premise of the latest film by David Gordon Green, Prince Avalanche, but the same could easily be said of Green's supposed return to form after his forays in mainstream filmmaking. Loosely based on the Icelandic film Either Way, the film centers on two men spending the summer of 1988 in rural Texas, tasked with repainting the dividing lines of a highway after a forest fire has devastated the area. Alvin (Paul Rudd) is the worldlier of the two, sartorially roughing it out in the Great Outdoors as he drags along his girlfriend's lout of a brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch).

Like any good (b)romantic comedy, Prince Avalanche hinges on that age-old conceit: opposites attract. Alvin's job offers him the opportunity to enjoy a Zen-like existence living off the land (and unburdened by actually having to deal with his girlfriend in person). But for Lance, his time away from home only gets in the way of actively trying to get laid. Inevitably pettiness breaks down the tenuous relationship between the two, and the relationship degrades into comical fisticuffs.

Moments of true beauty occasionally peek through the boorishness and slightly overbearing Explosions in the Sky score. Green reaches back to his pre-Pineapple Express works, employing the interstitial shots of The Beauty of Nature. These are heavily indebted to (though not nearly as transcendent as) those of fellow Texan Terrence Malick. The most arresting moment of the movie comes from Alvin's interactions with a mysterious old lady at the ruins of her home, "digging through [her] own ashes" (the woman is played by Joyce Payne, a real victim of the 2011 Bastrop County fires). For a brief moment Alvin's character is actually afforded a bit of maturity when he mimes a fantasized domestic life with his girlfriend in the foundation of this burned-out house.

Women troubles (it's always the women!) bond Alvin and Lance in the end, and the film devolves into a booze-addled celebration of wanton destruction and never actually wanting to grow up. Moving further up the Green oeuvre, the calamitous montage that ensues feels lifted straight out of Pineapple Express. Prince Avalanche is ultimately an unapologetic celebration—or farce?—of male camaraderie and shared recklessness.

Prince Avalanche opens at the Nuart Friday where it will screen for a week.

Carman Tse is a native of Northern California but not one of Those Guys that hates on Los Angeles (despite his affection for the Giants over the Dodgers). When he's not sharing long-winded thoughts on movies, he's probably sharing long-winded thoughts on baseball or reading about weird sea creatures.