Directed by Shawn Levy, Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
It is said that the most difficult movie genre to write about is comedy. It is also said that the most difficult review rating to write is something exactly in the middle. Well, here is a comedy that I’m giving a 2/5. It left virtually no impression on me, and I have very little to say about it other than “there were funny parts” and “some jokes didn’t work”. For the sake of an audience, I’ll try.
“The Internship” is about adult buddies Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, who basically play Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson with an overdose of 80’s movie references. They are sick of their dead end jobs, so they apply for an internship at Google. A very modern basic premise aside, the movie follows a typical college movie plot, and oddly enough, is especially similar to Pixar’s Monsters University, which was released just a few weeks after this in June of 2013. The friends get roped into a complex competition, where they are forced onto a team of losers that seems destined to fail. However, the losers all have a specific skill that will help with exactly one challenge, and Vaughn and Wilson can teach them the teamwork that they need to beat the others teams. I believe there are 20 total teams, but like any movie that uses this storyline, the only ones that get dialogue are the protagonists and the bullies, led by one over-the-top villain, his abused minions, and a token attractive woman. To be fair, in this area and absolutely none other, the script is subversive with the roles. The villain has a phony British accent to make him seem even more evil and specifically says that he needs a 10 to balance the team and keep them motivated. He plays the part like the character is in on the joke, which makes for a more entertaining character.
Sadly, the rest of the characters are restricted to one joke each. There’s the millennial stereotype, who is obsessed with his technology and has to be taught by the old timers how to appreciate moments and human interaction. There’s the tech leader who doesn’t have a life outside of technology and has to be taught by the old timers how to have fun and avoid his awkwardness. There’s the girl who wants to be wanted but is unhappy with her image, and she has to be taught by the old timers how to love herself. There’s also an Asian man, who is scared of his stern mother and has to learn to break away from her. This is obviously playing off of a stereotype, but I will admit that it was rather funny. Worst of all, Rose Byrne is the one dimensional female character from a male driven comedy. You’ve seen this character hundreds of times. She’s addicted to working and disapproves of the lead’s silly shenanigans, but he is so likable that she discovers how to let her hair down and have fun. The character is never funny, nothing new, and Rose Byrne adds little to the part.
So what did I like? Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are great. They have great chemistry and they’re very quick with back-and-forth dialogue. I’m not much of a Vince Vaughn fan, but he is genuinely funny in most of this movie. He got partial credit for the screenplay, and you can tell, in the sense that he seems more comfortable than ever when delivering his own lines. I am a big Owen Wilson fan. Wilson brings out the best in Vaughn. It is immediately obvious that these people are friends outside of their jobs. The space I’m giving them in words isn’t enough credit. At least one of them is in every single scene of the movie, and they are capable of carrying it to a nearly average rating. I also liked some of the supporting players, like Max Minghella as the evil intern, Aasif Mandvi’s turn as the sort of host of the competition, and cameos from John Goodman, Will Ferrel, and Rob Riggle were all very good.
Your personal ability to tolerate this movie will likely coincide with your ability to tolerate Google, or a movie that doubles as a two hour advertisement for any company. Truthfully, there was too much product placement to bother me. I get easily annoyed when a product halts the movie, but when a product is a movie, it stops feeling like a product. The company wins because they get their name out, and the audience wins because it doesn’t feel intrusive (to me. Again, your mileage may vary). This movie seems to be made for FX. If you find it on TV, you won’t regret spending 2 hours to watch it. If you’re a really big fan of Wilson or Vaughn, it might be worth buying, because both men are great, and Vaughn gives one of his best comedic performances.