Prince Avalanche (R)

Comedy 94 August 9th, 2013
By Alan Scherstuhl
Here's a humble wig-out, a curio that could endure beyond its creators' more demonstrably successful works-- and for decades will certainly confound audiences who think they're streaming/torrenting/eye-jacking some broad Paul Rudd comedy they had forgotten about. Prince Avalanche director David Gordon Green gives star Rudd more chances to charm than he’s had in the last few Apatow joints, and the actor, here sporting a twitchy burr of a mustache, stirs laughs by appearance alone. As a workin' man laying the yellow lines on the roads in a dead but huge Texas state park, Rudd wears crisp overalls, seems weirdly proud of his tool belt and goggles, and looks for all the world like the star of some pre-Depression two-reeler, one of those calm-seeming but hilariously desperate everylugs whose new jobs always result in expert humiliation. He does fall down, amusingly, but Prince Avalanche isn't that kind of comedy. Just what kind it is is, in some ways, its central mystery: Two men, Rudd's Alvin and the much younger Lance (Emile Hirsch, tender in coarseness), lay paint, camp in the woods, and discover with us just who they are—and what kind of world they live in. It's a schlubby, existential, black-box-theater character study, steeped in warm silences and anxious boys' talk, sugared up with sublime shots of fire-ravaged forest and wild streams percolating with raindrops. One sequence of Rudd taking a swim in that rain is gorgeous; the real miracle is that it turns up in a big-hearted, small-scoped film in which men crab at each other over farts and control of the radio.
David Gordon Green Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne, Gina Grande, Lynn Shelton, Larry Kretschmar, Enoch Moon, David L. Osborne Jr. David Gordon Green Lisa Muskat, Craig Zobel, James Belfer, Derrick Tseng Magnolia Pictures