The Internship ★★

The premise for THE INTERNSHIP already pushes the limits of suspension of disbelief: two middle-aged, out-of-work, obsolete salesmen (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) try to get a new lease on life by becoming interns at Google. Not only is this movie a 90-minute advertisement for Google and its slew of products, its message is so obvious that it wouldn't have been any clearer than if Vaughn showed up at the end of the movie with a bullhorn, announcing it to the audience via a breach of the 4th wall.

He almost does that, though, and I'm about 99% certain it must have crossed his mind.

Yet, THE INTERNSHIP is not as bad as it may seem. Granted, it's not funny. I laughed once near the end as one of the movie's legitimately interesting supporting characters gets a moment of triumph with an unexpected twist. Most of the characters are either completely uninspired, blatantly stock, or woefully underused (calling Rose Byrne...). And the plot ambles along to its predictable destination with all the cleverness of a CBS sitcom. Despite all these obvious marks against it, the movie is almost saved by the heart of Vaughn and Wilson, two actors who look nothing alike, but would not surprise me if they revealed that they were biological brothers.

I love watching Vaughn and Wilson together on screen. They have such an ease with each other that even when their dialogue is wooden, exposition-laden, and full of lame turns of phrase, I can't help but smile. Maybe it's just leftover goodwill from WEDDING CRASHERS, but without Wilson's innate sweetness, Vaughn comes across as merely smarmy and fake; without Vaughn's swagger, Wilson comes across as saccharine and whiny. It's a great comedic foil, deserving of a much better script than this (unfortunately co-written by Vaughn).

The script is unfortunate. It plays like a movie written by an older guy who thinks he knows what the younger generation is like. There are obligatory references to STAR WARS cosplay, staged Harry Potter Quidditch matches, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The young characters are all jaded and tormented. So, of course, the older guys have to bring balance to the Force with their hapless optimism and faith in humanity amidst the cold computerized world. Except, Google's corporate culture isn't mechanized. It's warm, friendly, accessible, like their products. Director Shawn Levy doesn't quite capture this irony to the point that I wonder if he even gave it any thought as Google bucks bankrolled his production.

Oh well. So, it's not a great movie. That sentence would describe a very large number of movies. But at least we get to hang out with BFFs, Vaughn and Wilson, and that's not a bad way to spend an evening.

Jeremiah liked this review