It's none more indie. Offbeat. subtle sense of humour? Check. Low key plotting? Check. Unusual jobs for the characters? Check. Not much happens? Oh, check. Double check that one right there.
Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch's job is to repaint all traffic lines on the roads that were ravaged during the forest fire that ripped through a state park near Austin, Texas in 1987. Hirsch, the petulant teenager bored with the gig, rubs up against the uptight Rudd, who is dating Hirsch's older sister, sending a chunk of his wages home every week. As their time on the mountain draws to a close, simmering tensions begin to boil over.
And that's about it. I'm sure David Gordon Green, beating a hasty retreat from the mainstream comedy he dabbled in with the so-so Pineapple Express and the not-great-at-all Your Highness, will argue the Beckett influences and whatnot, but Prince Avalanche is like half a movie, an unfinished sketch. It's hard to grasp what the point of it all is (maybe there's no point - maybe that's the point) and why Green went to all this trouble to make a film about these two men.
The audience certainly has enough time to ponder what they're watching because nothing of note happens. The guys paint traffic lines, talk, sleep in tents, are given bottles of beer by a friendly truck driver (LeGault), who may or may not exist, and reminisce with a strange woman (Payne) who lost her house in the blaze. Now, her? She definitely doesn't exist.
Rudd and Hirsch are wonderful, however - their performances the only reason to keep watching. It's an odd decision by Green to cast twenty-eight-year-old Hirsch as a teenager, especially when he looks like not-so-young Jack Black here, but Hirsch has fun with the nuances and affectations of being a horny and frustrated teenage boy. Rudd, in a polo shirt, shorts and a moustache, is almost unrecognisable; while he's still the old likeable Rudd underneath all that pent up tension, it's nice to see him branch out somewhat.
These two characters would have worked if they had something to do.