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The Internship (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

The Internship


Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Max Minghella, Josh Brener, Dylan O'Brien, Tobit Raphael, Tiya Sircar, Jessica Szohr, Josh Gad, Bruno Amato, Aasif Mandvi, BJ Novak, Eric André, Anna Enger, Zane Stephens, Rob Riggle, JoAnna Garcia, John Goodman and Will Ferrell.

Screenplay by Shane Black and Drew Pearce.

Directed by Shawn Levy.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 119 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Remember how edgy Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson seemed in Wedding Crashers eight years ago? That's all a pretty distant memory right now. The comedy duo's reunion project The Internship is a great many things - timely, cuddly, harmless, formulaic, periodically moderately amusing, Google-worshipping - but it never, ever shows any real edge. The movie is as safe as milk.

And sadly, this milk feels like it is past its expiration date.

The plot, if you want to call it that, is a mix of redemption and fish-out-of-water pathos, and yet oddly neither one quite connects.

Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, two hot-shot salesmen for an importing company. Their specialty is... uh oh... high-end watches. You see where this is going. In a world where watches are going the way of the typewriter and the Betamax, when their business inevitably closes down, what are these two guys going to do with their lives? They are very likable, but completely inept at any job skills other than schmoozing.

But one thinks: Hey, that company Google on the interwebs is doing awfully well. Maybe we can get a job there.

Oh Gramps, you card.

Sadly, the two have no actual skills to offer Google. And besides, the only thing the company is looking for is unpaid interns, anyway. So these two forty something dudes put their lives (and bills) on hold and decide to play a high-tech game of Survivor with a bunch of tech-savvy nerds who are young enough to be their kids... if these wacky bachelors had ever gotten around to settling down.

Can two schmooze artists who are completely over their heads technologically - and who think that Flashdance is a proper topical reference to use on a bunch of twenty year olds - survive in a landscape which worships the cutting edge?

This is a Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie. What do you think?

Cue an hour and a half of immersive product placement in which Google headquarters is shown to be an odd mix of nerd's paradise, the reality series Shark Tank, a theme park, a Japanese airport and The Lord of the Files. According to this film, not only does Google entertain its applicants with intellectual puzzles and dorky feats of strength (they actually play an entire mock game of Quiddich), but it is also home to some of the hottest nerd-loving women in the universe.

And the fact that the company's internship program is essentially a winner-take-all reality series that the guys have no real chance of ever winning? That just makes our two go-get-'em guys want it that much more.

They inevitably get stuck in the outcast team in the internship Olympics: a group of brilliant but socially-inept virgins for whom this is more than just a job, it's a ticket out of their dull lives of quiet desperation in their parents' basements. (Then again, would any other kind of person be in Google's internship program?)

The kids teach Vince and Owen how to program and how to work in a team. Vince and Owen teach the kids to lighten up, have fun, believe in themselves, get drunk and occasionally projectile vomit. They even give some of them a fighting chance of getting laid.

As the old movie tagline said: It's the slobs vs. the snobs.

There's no real suspense as to whether or not these two misfits will somehow overcome the odds and emerge victorious. Anyone who has ever seen The Bad News Bears or any of its hundreds of imitators know that answer full well. Now maybe Owen and Vince can Google up a better script.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2013 All rights reserved. Posted: June 5, 2013.

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