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The Internship Movie Review

The Internship (2013) movie poster The Internship

Theatrical Release: June 7, 2013 / Running Time: 119 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Shawn Levy / Writers: Vince Vaughn (story & screenplay), Jared Stern (screenplay)

Cast: Vince Vaughn (Billy McMahon), Owen Wilson (Nick Campbell), Rose Byrne (Dana Sims), Max Minghella (Graham Hawtrey), Aasif Mandvi (Mr. Chetty), Josh Brener (Lyle Spaulding), Josh Gad (Headphones), Dylan O'Brien (Stuart Twombly), Tobit Raphael (Yo-Yo Santos), Tiya Sircar (Neha Patel), Jessica Szohr (Marielena), Rob Riggle (Randy), JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Megan), Gary Anthony Williams (Bob Williams), Bruno Amato (Sal), Eric Andrι (Sid), Harvey Guillen (Zach), Ashlee Heath (Jeanie), B.J. Novak (Male Interviewer) / Uncredited: Will Ferrell, John Goodman

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Eight years ago, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were the kings of summer. Their film Wedding Crashers did business long unheard of for an R-rated comedy.
The antics of these two wisecracking thirtysomethings were enjoyed by teenagers, those much older, and even critics. Only War of the Worlds and Star Wars: Episode III sold more tickets that season. Their overdue reunion as co-leads finally occurs in The Internship and it has real potential to have a perfectly opposite reception.

Vaughn and Wilson have had their ups and downs since Crashers, so it's unlikely this marks a new low for them at the box office. But creatively, it's tough to imagine this generating much more goodwill than last summer's Vaughn flop, The Watch. Like that film, this one is co-written by Jared Stern and produced by Shawn Levy, who also directs. Eschewing both aliens and penis jokes, Internship earns a PG-13 rating and though it aims for a young audience, it seems unlikely to win one of any age.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play old but happy Google interns in the comedy "The Internship."

Vaughn and Wilson play Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, two best friends who possess the gift of gab and little else. While their schmoozing has served them well enough as wristwatch salesmen, they learn in the middle of their personable, promising restaurant sales pitch to an important client that their employer has folded. What are two unskilled fortysomethings supposed to do next?

Nick takes a job selling mattresses at his sister's boyfriend's shop (a neck-tattooed Will Ferrell, making a Crashers-like uncredited cameo). Billy thinks they can do better and he gets them a webcam interview for an internship at Google. Since the program is designed for college students, Billy enrolls them both in the University of Phoenix (even though his house has been foreclosed and his girlfriend has just left him) and pads their rιsumιs some. Their outside-the-box thinking lands them more consideration than warranted and by just one vote, the two middle-aged men wind up among hordes of intelligent millennials.

As if the image of two men twice as old as their fellow interns isn't hilarious and exciting on its own, there is the setting to add color. The Internship functions as a two-hour corporate promo for Google. Not just the search engine, but the entire company culture. Oh, it's so very rad. A giant slide takes you from one floor to another. Search phrases scroll across the stairs. There are bright colors and lights everywhere. Bagels and bananas are free for the taking. The interns even get propeller beanies declaring them "Nooglers."

Nick (Owen Wilson) and Billy (Vince Vaughn) reflect on Google. Nick (Owen Wilson) and Billy (Vince Vaughn) arrive for their internship at Google.

I feel compelled to disclose or perhaps remind you that Google produces stronger feelings inside me than the vast majority of technology giants. On a Monday in February 2011, the company inexplicably penalized this very website, burying my life's work a minimum of six pages into their results, well out of sight for typical searchers.
Traffic dropped considerably and my income tumbled to around one-third of where it had been. The penalty was lifted eight months later, with no explanation or significant change in my content-driven publishing standards. My readership instantly rose, though never back to where it had been and my income is still a lot closer to the penalty period lows than to the more sustainable place it had been. There is a hatred inside me towards the company that will never go away. Even as their ad program has become the top source of my income, I still shudder at their name and prefer to use other search engines, browsers, applications, and e-mail than theirs.

Having said all that, I honestly don't believe my own infuriating personal history with Google colors my reaction to the film's nauseating portrayal of the company. It's just a very shallow, mindless and constant promotion of Google's values and importance. Obviously, with implicit corporate approval, there is only so much subversion Billy and Nick can supply, all of it toothless and as funny as my hellish 2011.

I like Vaughn and Wilson, having enjoyed a number of their so-called Frat Pack productions and other comedies (even You, Me & Dupree and Four Christmases). Here, though, they come across pitifully out of touch with audience tastes and severely overestimating their own appeal. The joke, again and again, is that they are not with the times. They wear T-shirts of Tom Petty and an old Atlanta Hawks logo. They've never heard of Instagram. The two guys form a team with a ragtag bunch of rejected misfits, each socially awkward in his or her own way, including their hopelessly nerdy team leader (Josh Brener). For some reason, this internship consists only of a series of creative challenges, the one winning team of which lands paid employment at Google. Billy and Nick are of little help at finding a programming bug or playing Quidditch. But they open their young teammates' eyes as they introduce them to real interpersonal communication, including downing shots at a (PG-13 strip) club and watching the sun rise over the Golden Gate Bridge.

It's an eye-roll-inducing message presented unconvincingly among such stale devices as an arrogant British adversary (Max Minghella), a disapproving supervisor (Aasif Mandvi), and a workaholic love interest (Rose Byrne). It certainly feels out of date, like a project Vaughn and Wilson may have passed on back in 2005 only to warm to now as their stacks of scripts have started to thin. In fact, it feels a good deal older than that, like a Revenge of the Nerds without the nostalgia.

To have made this film now in this joyless, long-winded way, Vaughn (who also takes story and screenplay credit) and Wilson seem to earn the obsolete label that is placed on their characters, which is unfortunate because they've proven they're capable of much better comedy than this.

By the way, the funniest joke of the film was the scene in which the interns answer calls, providing technical support on a variety of subjects. Silly movie, Google doesn't help people on the phone or otherwise. Trust me, I know.

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Related Reviews:
Vince Vaughn: Fred Claus • Four Christmases • Lay the Favorite • Into the Wild | Written by Jared Stern: Mr. Popper's Penguins
Owen Wilson: Hall Pass • How Do You Know • Midnight in Paris • Marley and Me • Drillbit Taylor • The Big Year • Shanghai Noon • Bottle Rocket
Directed by Shawn Levy: Date Night • Real Steel • Night at the Museum • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Rose Byrne: Insidious • Knowing | Aasif Mandvi: Ghost Town • Ruby Sparks | Max Minghella: 10 Years • The Darkest Hour
2013 Comedies: Identity Thief • The Hangover Part III • Warm Bodies • Admission • A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

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Reviewed June 7, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 20th Century Fox and Regency Pictures.