[Screen It]

"THE INTERNSHIP"
(2013) (Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson) (PG-13)

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QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Two forty-something friends recently laid off as watch salesmen enroll in Google's internship program for a shot at their dream jobs.
PLOT:
Billy (VINCE VAUGHN) and Nick (OWEN WILSON) are a couple of forty-something watch salesmen who recently lost their jobs when their company folded. Suddenly thrust into a tight job market, they suddenly have to confront the fact that they have limited job skills and are way behind the times when it comes to the latest technology.

Tired of never really getting ahead, Billy convinces Nick to enroll in Google's internship program run by the very serious and demanding Roger Chetty (AASIF MANDVI). Once there, the dozens of interns - almost all of which are 20 years younger than Billy and Nick and are brilliant in their various fields of computers, science, business, and technology - are split into teams of six and pitted against each other in various challenges and competitions.

Billy and Nick's team consists of Google wunderkind, Lyle (JOSH BRENER); the ultra-cynical Stuart (DYLAN O'BRIEN); the home-schooled, overly nervous Yo-Yo (TOBIT RAPHAEL); and the alternately shy and flirty Neha (TIYA SIRCAR). Billy runs afoul of Graham (MAX MINGHELLA), the arrogant captain of a rival team of interns. Nick, meanwhile, falls for Dana (ROSE BYRNE), a Type-A Google executive.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
There's a couple of things you should know about me going into this review of "The Internship." I was born in 1970, the same year as Vince Vaughn and two years after Owen Wilson. So, I cut my teeth on the same movies of the 1980s and '90s that they did. I am also terribly behind the times in terms of technology. Of course, I know enough to do this job. I surf the Web as a resource, I use Microsoft Word to write and edit, and I can attach files to an e-mail for my editors on the other end. But texting and tweeting? No way. I have a Facebook page. But don't look for me on Twitter or LinkedIn. And I don't have an iPad, an iPod, and iCarly or any other "i" product. I heeded Mr. Roboto. The problem IS plain to see! Too much technology! Machines to...

Ahem.

So, in a way, this movie was sort of spoke to me. I get where the two leads are coming from. They are both in their early 40s and suddenly thrust back into the job pool when they lose their longtime gigs as watch salesmen. Rather than being stuck in go-nowhere sales jobs hawking other products, they decide to challenge themselves and enroll in Google's desirous internship program for a shot at dream jobs on the tech titan's amazing corporate campus in Northern California. The problem is they're competing with dozens of hungry, hard-charging college students two decades their junior and they have all of two decades of catch-up learning to do.

I enjoyed "The Internship." It reminded me of those campus comedies of the 1980s that made me want to escape my go-nowhere existence in high school and make it to the halls of higher learning. I am talking specifically of "Revenge of the Nerds," "Back to School," and (especially) "Real Genius." While the movie is being packaged and marketed as a vehicle for the two leads, who are making their first movie together since the mega-successful "Wedding Crashers," it's their young co-stars who give the really interesting, quirky performances here. So much so that I almost wish the film was about all of the young 'uns competing with each other for the final job prize. I wish more time had been devoted to their angst, their dreams, their schemes, their triumphs, and failures.

The most effective parts of the movie have to do with Billy and Nick dealing with the failed promise of the 1980s where so many of us thought we'd grow up to be Alex P. Keatons, Gordon Gekkos, and J.R. Ewings, while also talking down their younger counterparts who express their fears of being set loose in a working world where they likely won't be able to get jobs in their majors and be saddled with student loan debt all the way to Billy and Nick's age. There is a nice coming together of the generations here, a lot of "feel-good" instant messaging, and some genuinely warm laughs. And for those lamenting that the film is one long commercial for Google, I think it would have been jive to make up a fictional company that would be a thinly stand-in for the Internet search giant or Apple.

The disappointment, I guess, is that it's not a "gut-buster" as "Wedding Crashers" was. There is some good humor in "The Internship" and plenty of small chuckles. There's just not a lot of BIG laughs. It's PG-13 as opposed to the R rating of the "Wedding Crashers."

But the film builds up a lot of good will for the main characters. And there is a nice, multi-cultural vibe running throughout with funny turns by up-and-coming, sitcom-ready talents like Tobit Raphael, Tiya Sircar, Aasif Mandvi, Eric Andre, and Max Minghella.

This is a good movie that another couple of screenplay drafts might have made a great movie. Stick around for the closing credits, too. They are the best I have seen this year. I give the overall movie a 6 out 10. (T. Durgin)




Reviewed June 4, 2013 / Posted June 7, 2013


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