Much like a sort of Midwest Waiting for Godot, David Gordon Green’s eighties-set comedy Prince Avalanche sees two men seemingly stuck doing an endless job in the middle of nowhere, waiting for introspection and discovery.
In the summer of 1988, highway workers Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s brother Lance (Emile Hirsch) spend their days painting lines on the road after savage wild fires scorched the ground the year before. Along the way, their relationship (and claustrophobic close living quarters) threaten to disrupt the routine.
With barely any other cast, except for a lonely trucker or so, Green’s sparse but enjoyable comedy is essentially a simple two-header. While Alvin’s the more experienced and pragmatic of the pair, his horny, less mature co-worker Lance brings the fun (and the mix tape) to the relationship; something that soon causes problems thanks to some mid act revelations which bring the pair close together.
Interspersed with a suitably melancholy (and at times euphoric) soundtrack, this remake of little-seen 2011 film Either Way is perfectly cast with both Rudd and Hirsch giving their best performances in years. Throw in a rambling but endearing plot, some obviously semi-improvised dialogue and almost post-apocalyptic landscape (cleverly utilizing a real post wildfire setting) and you’ve got a sort of less boozy Sideways.
However, whereas that film managed to combine comedy and drama with aplomb, here things feel a touch more slight with little really at stake and a plot that some might find rather pointless. However, if you like an enjoyably meandering road trip, this really is a line worth following.