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Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche.

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★✩✩✩✩

Prince Avalanche

Directed by David Gordon Green

Starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch

Rated R

Prince Avalanche was shot in secret, at the request of director David Gordon Green who wanted to return to his roots in independent film after making his last three works with major film studios (Pineapple Express, Your Highness, Eastbound & Down). But, he went too far. Prince Avalanche felt like a graduate film student thesis, with unnecessarily long scenes and increasingly portentous music accompanying events that lead nowhere, or were just arbitrary.

The story revolves around Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch), who work together painting traffic lines on the desolate country roads of a Texas town ravaged by wildfires. Alvin flaunts his outdoorsy skills while big-baby Lance is practically incapable of anything except smoking, jerking-off and farting. The monotony of their job and the intimacy of full days together conviviality turn into an unlikely friendship between the two, mostly based on bickering and talking about girls.

We learn that Alvin is having problems in his relationship with Lance’s sister, but we don’t learn much more. We have no idea of the why’s or the purpose. The characters learn nothing. The movie ends and they seem to not have developed any higher planes, and yet have overdone cathartic moments of freedom from who knows what.

Many elements of the film don’t seem to have a purpose, and only confuse the audience. There are ghosts: a little old woman who lost everything during the fires, and a truck driver. They appear and there, delivering either moonshine or words of wisdom of the most clichéd kind. There is suddenly a black and white shot meant to be a mental image of Alvin’s girlfriend, and then we see him walking down the road and a big “I Love You So Much” is written in cursive across the screen. There’s a telephone conversation in which we learn of the break-up between Alvin and Lance’s sister… which is incohesive and far out, not in a positive way.

I did not laugh once, I did not think once, I did not feel for them either. I tried my best at giving it a chance, but it just kept on going nowhere but onto my nerves. The only saving grace of the movie was the landscape it was shot in, small-town Bastrop, TX, and some good tunes in the soundtrack.