*1/2 (out of 5)
June 7, 2013
Vince Vaughn as BILLY MCMAHON
Owen Wilson as NICK CAMPBELL
Rose Byrne as DANA
Aasif Mandvi as MR. CHETTY
Max Minghella as GRAHAM HAWTREY
Josh Brener as LYLE
Dylan O’Brien as STUART
Tiya Sircar as NEHA
Tobit Raphael as YO-YO SANTOS
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Shawn Levy
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
It was pointed out to me earlier this week to a radio show host whom I do weekly reviews for that there hasn’t been a bankable comedy team in movies for a while. That sort of thing has happened less and less over the years, with an occasional entry like David Spade and Chris Farley in the 90s, comparable to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in the 50s.
Owen Wilson had his shot at this in the early 2000s with Ben Stiller, cranking out comedies like “Zoolander” and “Starsky and Hutch.” It looks like Hollywood is trying to make that happen again, by pairing Wilson with his former “Wedding Crashers” co-star Vince Vaughn.
Sponsored by Google, of course.
“The Internship” follows Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), who have recently been let go as salesmen. In a last-ditch attempt to turn their life around, they manage to secure summer internships at Google, where they have to compete against younger, smarter and more tech savvy candidates. Of course, their wealth of life experiences help them along as they hope to show their team that they still have something to offer.
Scratch that. This isn’t what the movie is about. Here is a more accurate description of the film:
Google is awesome. It is the greatest place to work on the planet. Did you hear me? It’s AWWWWESOME! Everyone who is cool wants to work at Google. We change the world and make a better place. Oh, and you’re old. And you suck if you don’t work here. 80s references are stupid… unless they’re about “Star Wars,” and suddenly the early-twentysomethings claim credit for that as well. Google!
Ultimately, the stretch of a plot is wrapped around this shameless pandering ad for the tech company, and the Google marketing message is so pervasive and obnoxious that it puts other marketing-drenched movies (like “You’ve Got Mail” and “Castaway”) to shame. It’s too bad Google didn’t spend more of its in-film advertising to use with a decent writer.
Using a very basic formulaic plot of the misfits in school doing good for themselves (in as sanitized of a PG-13 “Revenge of the Nerds” way it can), “The Internship” serves as a stepping stone from joke to joke and gag to gag. Too many times, the scene plays out not for good comedy or with any real relevance to the plot and characters, but rather as an excuse to have Wilson or Vaughn lay on their comedy shtick – together or separate – and calling it a day.
However, even the jokes don’t know their place. In an attempt to make the characters of Billy and Nick out of touch, for example, the younger interns send them on a wild goose chase based on an “X-Men” joke. That would work if “X-Men” were something that only geeks in their early 20s can understand. I’m sorry, people, but the “X-Men” comics have been around since the 60s, and the first movie (of five and counting) was made 13 years ago. The possibility that Billy and Nick had no idea about the film is ludicrous.
This extends to other pop culture references, where one intern berates Billy for comment about the 80s film “Flashdance” yet another Googler only a few years older than him references Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future.” Additionally, we see Billy and Nick clueless about Quidditch and “Harry Potter” references, even though that franchise is as old as the “X-Men” film franchise.
Then there’s the incomprehensible notion that Billy and Nick don’t know who Han and Luke are. Buried within a cosplay joke (which is more geek culture than youth culture, considering I know plenty of cosplayers in their 30s, 40s and 50s), the movie seems to ignore the fact that “Star Wars” came out in 1977 and was most likely a huge part of the older characters’ childhood.
Sure, I’m going on at length about misplaced geek humor masquerading as generational humor, but it’s the only thing that holds the plot together.
When the movie tries to get down to the story, we see a completely forced relationship between Nick and a pretty manager (who’s a workaholic with no social life but still manages to come to work in sexy heels and looking like she stepped out of a salon), played by Rose Byrne.
Director Shawn Levy tries to do too much with too little in this movie, and he’s shackled by the overbearing corporate Google message. Sure, there are a couple laughs, but for the most part, this is the Google+ of movies.