In my book, this prince would not get a crown for best film.
Alvin (Paul Rudd) is in the middle of nowhere for the summer, painting traffic lines on a road with his girlfriend’s brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch). Alvin is serious to Lance’s this-is-boring-where-are-the-girls mentality. While Alvin is the kind of guy who handwrites his girlfriend letters (this is 1988, after all), Lance is the type who tries to masturbate in the tent he shares with a sleeping Alvin.
Lance is one of those off-the-wall people we all know, though sometimes he is so much so that his dialogue seems forced, and it is hard to believe he is an actual person. At film’s beginning, Alvin, who relishes the silence in the wilderness, is often impatient with Lance’s unfocused attitude. However, as the weeks go on and Alvin is suddenly dumped by Lance’s sister, Alvin begins to unwind and cut loose with Lance. In turn, Lance begins to take his job more seriously. Like it or not, the two men realize they need each other, and they are actually good together.
A great theme resonates in the film, one that Alvin utters to Lance: there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Oftentimes, we see that Alvin enjoys his surroundings and truly makes the best of them, while Lance does the opposite.
And the primitive backdrop of the film — isolation, connection, camping, hunting down food for dinner — reminds us of simpler times, pre-texting and unlimited minutes, and making do without a solid roof over our heads, or a microwave or fast food, which is quite refreshing.
However, the characters do not seem wholly original, and I was expecting more from writer/director David Gordon Green. It is also difficult to grasp the men’s ties to the women they left behind, so when their romantic relationships are not working out, it is hard to empathize with Alvin and Lance.
Prince Avalanche is not unwatchable, though I would wait for the DVD.