Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch at work and play in Prince Avalanche

by Mark Burger

UNCSA School of Filmmaking graduate David Gordon Green goes the remake route with Prince Avalanche , an “Americanized” version of the 2011 Icelandic comedy Either Way (AKA A Annan Veg).

Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play Alvin and Lance, a pair of working stiffs toiling on a road crew in 1988 Texas. Alvin, who is dating Lance’s sister, fancies himself the more erudite and worldly of the two. Lance, for his part, doesn’t much care. He’s more interested in getting girls and having good times, and occasionally poking fun at his co-worker’s ego.

Steeped in Green’s trademark quirkiness — the humor is more droll than laugh-out-loud funny — Rudd and Hirsch enjoy a comfortable chemistry even when bickering at one another. The film is essentially a two-hander, although there’s a funny turn by the late Lance LeGault (in his final film) as a lovably crusty dump-truck driver who pulls up occasionally to enjoy a beverage or two with the boys.

Prince Avalanche isn’t a particularly deep or significant film, but its modest charms aren’t without merit. It is, moreover, a vast improvement over Green’s last feature, the low-octane high-concept Jonah Hill vehicle The Sitter (2011) — both for Green and regular cinematographer (and fellow UNCSA graduate) Tim Orr, reclaiming his status as one of the best cinematographers around.

Prince Avalanche is scheduled to open Friday at the Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema.