Monday, August 12, 2013

Prince Avalanche

"George Washington" director David Gordon Green - who's lately been slumming it with such swill as "The Sitter" and "Your Highness" - has made a one-off picture with the inexplicable (and box office fatal) title "Prince Avalanche," about a two-man crew charged with painting lines down a lonely Texas highway near the site of a recent deadly wildfire. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play the two men, respectively Alvin, the "boss," an introspective loner badly missing his girlfriend Madison back home, and Lance, Madison's brother, who's easily bored and always horny to "get the little man squeezed." Gordon means to invest their back-and-forth bickering (and long-held shots of their surroundings) with import and gravitas, but it's merely boring and exasperating.

Both Rudd and Hirsch can be sexy in the right context, but here, grungified and stuck in drab green uniforms, they have little appeal (though Hirsch's eyes always have a sweet soulfulness about them). Most of the time, the movie chokes on its own whimsy, only really coming to life on the handful of occasions Lance Le Gault, as an older crewman, drives by and checks in on them, sharing his seemingly limitless supply of on-hand booze: "Mother may I? Yes I may! Pfft," he says, sending another swig down the hatch. If you'd like to see the movie "Prince Avalanche" aspired to be, check out Tom Gilroy's "Spring Forward," with Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber as Connecticut park groundskeepers. It made my top-ten list in 2000.

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