« Click to Next Article »

Zimbio Review - 'The Internship' is the Funniest Commercial of the Year

(20th Century Fox)
The Bottom Line
Should you see it?

Declawed with a PG-13 rating, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson still manage to work their magic... kind of.
The joy of seeing Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn back together again is tainted by the fact The Internship worships so sickeningly at the altar of tech giant Google. The boys manage to overshadow the film's reverance (and a surprisingly lame supporting cast) for the most part however with several scenes of their trademark motormouth back and forth, including one for the ages involving a Google Hangout interview. The Internship is sappy schlock with some comedy mixed in—an underdog tale where the game is rigged. But since the dogs are Wilson and Vaughn, there are enough moments to savor.

2005's Wedding Crashers was an influential film. That sounds funny, but it was an R-rated comedy that killed at the box office and won over critics, paving the way for the likes of The Hangover and Knocked Up. The Internship is much more tame, rated PG-13 and featuring Vaughn and Wilson in sales guy roles, playing to their talent for making hyperactive positivity endearing.

They play Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), watch salesmen who are rendered "obsolete" when their boss (an underused John Goodman) closes up shop for a new investment. Freaked out, Billy thinks big and submits applications for he and his best buddy to Google for a summer internship. They interview and get the gig when the hiring team decides they're more outside the box than the usual applicants.

Having gone through the Google interview process myself (I worked at YouTube for two years), I was pleased to see the movie use a twist on a typical Google logic question. Billy and Nick are asked how they would get out if they were shrunken down to the size of nickels and put in a blender (I was asked how many baseball bats would fill AT&T Park). The question sets Vaughn and Wilson off and they quickly brainstorm, bombarding the two polite Google interviewers with a flurry of responses and hypotheticals. It's amazing to watch, and damned funny.

Unfortunately, it's downhill from there. Arriving at the Google Mountain View campus in California, director Shawn Levy (Real Steel, Date Night) uses a cheesy montage that makes it seem like we've embarked on some kind of fairy tale trip to the Land of Oz. Nobody seems to be working. The sun shines brightly and everyone's outside playing volleyball, riding cool bikes, and hanging out. Before they even arrive, Billy remarks that Google is the "best place in the country to work." The adoration is understandable to a degree, but ladies and gentleman... I implore you— this is a place of business. Never in my dozens of visits to that campus did it ever look like this. It's also not 2005 anymore, Google being a cool place to work is nothing new.

What ensues is, as Billy calls it, "a mental Hunger Games" where the interns are divided into teams with the winners promised full-time jobs at the end of the summer. Billy and Nick are immediate targets because of their age, but they find a home amongst some other outcasts and form a team under the guidance of 23-year-old Google employee Lyle (Josh Brener) who takes on the overdone and unfunny "dorky white kid who talks like Kanye West" role. It's nails on a chalkboard listening to him say things like, "We in the heezy!" Lyle is emblematic of the weak supporting cast as only Will Ferrell, in a short cameo, provides any laughs.

Computer engineers and tech savvy theater-goers will enjoy the references to C++ and other coding jargon included in the internship challenges. The other 99.9 percent of us will be as lost as Billy and Nick watching the kids "find the bug," but that's the point, and it's fun watching the two funnymen try to talk their way out of the deep end. There's even one scene where Billy flat-out asks Lyle if there's a blanket statement he can use where he's not wrong and he's not right, but he's saying something. It's funny stuff.

The Internship does go a bit too far in making Billy and Nick totally computer ignorant. Billy refers to "online" as "on the line," and the two of them go cheek to cheek during their webchat interview trying to fit in the screen. By the end, Nick is suggesting default code for programmers and it's all a bit hard to swallow. It wouldn't be if the film were more self-aware, but it takes itself very seriously, even introducing Rose Byrne as the token love interest for Nick, and Jessica Szohr as a love interest for Lyle.

All of this usually spells atomic disaster for a comedy, but somehow Vaughn and Wilson won me over. Their smiling personalities are infectous and it's simply fun watching the two of them together. It's tough to imagine any other actors pulling off what's essentially a giant commercial for a corporation. If anything, The Internship is proof you can put Vaughn and Wilson in anything and it'll be worth checking out, even if it's a commercial.

View Owen Wilson Pictures »
Leave a Comment!