“The Internship” reunites a comedy duo who helped revive the R-rated comedy in Hollywood with “The Wedding Crashers.”
It stars Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Google. And maybe that order should be reversed because Google probably has more screen time than either actor.
Vaughn and Wilson play 40-somethings who suddenly find themselves unemployed. Out of desperation they trick their way into internships at Google. That means most of the movie is set on Google’s futuristic campus in Mountain View, California. And it revels in showing off a lot of the perks of working there – like self-driving cars, nap pods, slides replacing stairs, and free dry-cleaning. Owen Wilson compares it to the Garden of Eden. The movie even ends with a scroll up to the Google logo on the main campus building.
It’s probably the best product placement in the history of movies.
But none of that is going to matter if the film’s not worth seeing – and that may depend on how much you like Vince Vaughn.
Vaughn basically plays the same character in every movie, a smart-aleck man child who smooth-talks his way into and out of impossible situations.
In “The Internship,” a lot of the humor comes from his cluelessness in the face of all these other much younger and much brighter Google interns.
“Alright guys. I don’t want to kill the momentum, or the mojo that you have cooking but I have an idea,” says Vaughn. “Nowadays people are taking pictures. They have their phones there, they’re out. Something catches their eye – they want to take it. But then the photo is just sitting there. What if they take the photo and instantaneously put it out there online and they share it with their friends!”
But, as the interns have to tell Vaughn – that’s Instagram, it’s one of the most popular apps in the world and Facebook bought it for $1 billion dollars.
One of the funniest sequence in the movie involves teams of interns competing in a physical game of Quidditch, from the world of Harry Potter. And when their team takes a beating, Vaughn delivers a crucial peptalk inspired by the story of “Flashdance.”
Here’s the overall pattern of the movie: first, the laughs are at Vince Vaughn’s expense – since he doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s doing. But then, his wealth of experience – remember he’s at least twice the age of the other interns – proves invaluable as he introduces these socially ill-equipped geniuses to life outside their brains.
It’s that second half of the film that gets predictable and a little soppy but the first half is just funny enough to still have you smiling as you leave the theatre. I bet Google’s happy too.