Two men who sit in a tent discussing life, love and the future might remind some of the famous “Brokeback Mountain,” but “Prince Avalanche” explores the other kind of love two men can have for each other – a beautiful bromance. With comedy and heartache intertwined, “Prince Avalanche” is an emotionally fulfilling film that struggles to find its identity and direction – much like its main characters.
Based on the Icelandic film “Either Way,” “Prince Avalanche” tells the tale of two highway road workers in the summer of ’88 who are tasked to rebuild the highway that was devastated from a wildfire. Alvin [Paul Rudd] and Lance [Emile Hirsch] are polar opposites who are forced to endure each other’s company, which of course, leads to comedic situations.
“Prince Avalanche” is a modern “Odd Couple” set in the woods.
As the headliner for the movie, Paul Rudd performs wonderfully as the stuck-in-the-mud who follows the rules to the T. With a serious look on his face and a glorious moustache perched upon his upper lip, Rudd skilfully delivers in his role in every scene.
Emile Hirsch best known for his role in “Into the Wild” aptly performs, but is overshadowed by his co-star’s ability. His character Lance adds value to the film as the comedic slacker who’s more interested in getting the “little guy squeezed,” rather than rebuilding the roads and doing his job.
Both characters play off each other wonderfully, which makes the small cast of four actors more than enough when it comes to character development. The other two characters consist of an old trucker [Lance LeGault] who doesn’t fail to deliver a good joke along with an alcoholic beverage and a woman [Joyce Payne] who provides a hauntingly powerful performance when sifting through the remains of her old home that was lost to the wildfire.
“Prince Avalanche” is a movie of few words and follows the rule of less being more. With such a small cast there’s not much room for conversations on a large scale to they end up being very private and ultimately incredibly intimate.
The film does take a hard detour off the main road with many out of place nature montages that only hinder the pace of the already slow moving plotline. It’s hard to understand why they were implemented as they seem to be an attempt at making the film deeper and perhaps even more artistic. “Prince Avalanche” should have stayed as what it was billed as – a comedy drama.
Lack of an overall focus hurts “Prince Avalanche” as scenes seem scattered at points and certain scenes seem to have been mashed into the main plotline of a love/hate bromance between two guys. The film could’ve been edited down 25-30 minutes and still would have had been great, perhaps even better.
“Prince Avalanche” peaks with its humor and excellent acting but doesn’t quite reach the summit as a complete movie experience. It’s as if the director was overwhelmed by an avalanche of ideas and couldn’t dig himself out in a clear direction.