By Gary Murray
Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Rose Byrne
Written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern
Directed by Shawn Levy
Running time 119 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Way back in the decades past, there were many comedies about the young underdog struggling to beat the snobs. Films such as Revenge of the Nerds, Animal House and Real Genius were all about the square peg students trying to fit into the norms.
These films had a rag-tag group or individual doing it their own way and finally being accepted for their differences. Well, since there is very little new in Hollywood, film makers try and recycle anything that worked before. Over the last few years, we’ve gotten Old School, Euro Trip and Road Trip all films with this slight nostalgic feel of these older cinematic exploits. The latest film to go down this path is The Internship.
Our little flick opens with Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) going to a sales meeting. They are representatives of a watch company, pushing high-end time pieces. At the meeting they find out that the company they are working for has gone under. The two have been around the block, making a living but not making a life. Their boss (John Goodman) calls them dinosaurs in the computer world.
With their partnership shattered, Nick takes a job at a mattress store (funniest scene in the movie) and Billy begins a job search. He uses Google over and over then begins to get the idea that they need to go to work for the computer search engine company.
Billy applies for two of the internship slots for the company. In one of the better moments of the film, the two have a video interview with the admissions officers (with B. J. Novak in a small weak role). Eventually, these square pegs are selected to fit into the world of Google-geekdom.
Almost immediately, the two find out that they are considered geeks in the world of geeks. With their 1980s references, they have little in common with all the college kids they are surrounded by. Max Minghella is the personification of chic-geek, the go-getter who will let nothing stand in his way in order to achieve success. He becomes their enemy in trying to land a job with the company.
Eventually the kids must be paired into groups and Billy and Nick are lumped in with the losers. They are all brilliant and desperate to land a job. They do not believe in the American Dream, quitters who have given up even before the first try. Billy and Nick are just the kind of fast-talking bull artists who can find the best in people.
The story of The Internship is about how these individuals rally around their common core and become a unified whole. If anyone who has ever seen movie, one can figure out exactly how the film is going to end.
The film feels like a tangent sequel to Wedding Crashers but it doesn’t have the heart or the humor of that flick. Where in Wedding Crashers we had a football game, here is a Quidditch game. Instead of Rachel McAdams, we get Rose Byrne. There are many parallels between the two works.
So much of the film feels like something we’ve seen before. There are a few brilliant moments in the film, especially when Nick and Billy go on a wild goose chase that leads to an X-Men reference. But, so much of the film is as stale as day-old popcorn.
Owen Wilson is supposed to be this romantic lead everyman but he’s getting very long in the tooth for these roles. Middle age is reeking havoc on his questionable good looks and it becomes harder and harder to believe that he could attract the attention of someone like Rose Byrne. The charm is definitely falling off the bloom with Wilson.
Vince Vaughn fairs much better. Since Vince wrote the script, he did the smart thing and gave himself most of the best lines. He presents himself the ‘rally the troops’ moment with references to Flash Dance.
The Internship is a typical summer movie. It is not a life changing occurrence or a film that reveals anything in terms of unlocking the mysteries of the human experience. It is just a film meant to entertain. It does so to a light degree.