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Review – The Internship
July 2, 2013
It was with some trepidation that I settled down to watch The Internship. Sure, the trailer had brought about a couple of sniggers, but my gut feeling was that I’d already seen the best of its comedy in that two-minute showpiece, particularly having been subjected to a similar experience with a previous effort of the director’s; the less said about Just Married (2003) the better.
For the first time since Wedding Crashers, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up to lead a comedy that is set at Google HQ in California’s Palo Alto district. Co-written by Vaughn, the film sees two middle-aged wristwatch salesmen, Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), have to restart their careers after finding out their employer has gone bust. After Nick’s brief sojourn at his brother-in-law’s (played by Will Ferrell) mattress store and Billy’s relationship breakdown – which, it must be said, does not seem to bother him at all that much – they decide to apply for Google’s infamous summer internship programme.
They are successful after they fib their way through a video interview despite lacking any of the credentials Google would look for in prospective candidates – but hey this is Hollywood, right? Upon arrival they end up in the team of other, much younger and much brighter, misfits and begin their summer of ‘left-field’ tasks, with the prize being a permanent job at Google for all members of their team.
I found The Internship to be fairly enjoyable despite its flaws: Why is Billy’s break-up never revisited? Why bother with love interest Dana (Rose Byrne) for Nick when it’s completely irrelevant? Why do the two lead characters flick between being useless old men and then wise, experienced sages? Why do I feel so compelled to get all these Google products? And the big question I was left to ponder: Would the film have been better served as a teen flick with five youths as the focus? With the likes of Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien part of the film, the producers could have opened it up a whole new audience.
That’s not to say the film didn’t have its moments. A Quidditch match in particular stood out as great fun, whilst the look into what Google HQ looks like really appealed to my inner tech-geek. Some of the dialogue was genuinely funny, though a quip on pronouncing Barcelona as ‘Barth-e-lona’ and a recurring Flashdance joke that didn’t even get off the ground stick in the mind as poor.
The Internship is pleasant enough, with some moments I honestly found funny, but given how well Vaughn and Wilson worked together in Wedding Crashers, one can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed. The runtime is too long and occasionally drags, not to mention the side-stories that really add nothing to the film. As well, some of the best gags and performances come from the younger cast members, who all perform admirably. Upon reflection, the film comes across as a slightly narcissistic vehicle for Vaughn, a huge advert for Google, and an opportunity missed for its young cast.