David Gordon Green rejects his recent form for crude stoner clowning to provide more oblique, contemplative comedy with 80s-set Prince Avalanche. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are excellent as Alvin and Lance, two very different but equally moronic road crew crackpots discovering themselves and a semblance of perspective while maintaining the trail in a burnt-out Texan forest.
Alvin, having taken on his partner’s brother Lance as a favour, is distraught at having his solitude disrupted by the younger man. An uptight mass of pretension and disdain, Alvin prefers to spend his time in the bush with self-improving introspection and taped German lessons, while loudmouth Lance longs for a trip to town to get laid.
Rudd and Hirsch have great chemistry, and Green gives them room to develop their characters with a languid pace and unobtrusive style. This is a nuanced work with some ambiguous spiritual elements complementing all the male anxiety. A couple of older characters of mysterious origin intermittently dip in to add philosophical depth to an already smart two-hander.