FILM REVIEW: The Internship
Imagine a PG-version of a Vince Vaughn movie -- say a tamer Old School, a gentler Dodgeball or a significantly less raunchy Wedding Crashers -- and you've basically got The Internship, the actor's latest underdog comedy hitting theatres.
The actor stars in, co-wrote and co-produced the utterly predictable comedy, which reunites him with Wedding Crashers onscreen bestie Owen Wilson.
Helmed by family-friendly, Montreal-born director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Reel Steel, Date Night), The Internship has grabbed headlines as "the Google movie" and though the ubiquitous tech giant didn't technically sponsor the film, its willing cooperation shows.
The Internship follows a pair of smooth-talking salesmen/best buds who find themselves turfed when their workplace goes under. In a mid-life attempt to strike out beyond "safe" decisions, the outdated duo -- They rock out to 90s-era Alanis Morissette! They cite Flashdance for motivation! -- vie for Google's internship program and pit themselves against the younger generation's best and brightest in hopes of landing a job at the wildly successful company.
Only in Hollywood does a practically computer-illiterate pair land spots in the highly competitive program despite being complete anachronisms in this world of coding, app-creation and Quidditch (The Harry Potter shout-out is among the requisite "nerdy" references joining Star Wars, X-Men and Game of Thrones).
Owen Wilson, left, and Vince Vaughn's characters in The Internship feel mighty familiar. (Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox)
What comes next ticks every box of the typical underdog tale. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are targeted by an ambitious, jerky, British (of course!) antagonist (Max Minghella) -- check. They're thrown together with a band of nerdy misfit/outcast archetypes -- check (in this case, a handful of cynical Millenials long on book-learning but short on life experience). The pair face disapproval from a stern manager (Aasif Mandvi, who perfected his straight-faced delivery on The Daily Show) -- check.
The team bonds and ultimately overcomes adversity, discovering that these two "old" dogs can still offer up a new trick or two. Oh, and we can't forget the aloof staffer (Rose Byrne) piqued by Wilson's puppy-dog charm -- check and check.
Moviegoers aren't getting anything new from either Vaughn or Wilson, who basically fall back into their same Wedding Crashers personas.
Still, like their salesman characters, the actors (Vaughn especially) appear to be busting their humps and deserve credit for achieving an earnest likeability. Billy's pep talks, for instance, are classic gabby Vaughn and showcase his strength as a persuasive motor-mouth. Will Ferrell and Rob Riggle deliver all-too brief cameos as bizarro characters that -- thankfully -- offer real laughs.
Though it doesn't delve deep, The Internship brushes upon the real-life issue of a generation of workers increasingly becoming obsolete at the same time younger successors believe that the "American Dream thing that you guys grew on up -- that's all it is nowadays: a dream."
The Internship screens like a love-letter to Google, its "don't be evil" motto and oft-professed desire to better the world. Shot in part at the company's corporate HQ in Mountain View, Calif., the movie's gee-whiz scenes of the famed indoor slides, nap pods and driverless cars feel a bit dated for anyone who knows even a smidgen about the company.
In the end, The Internship is a completely conventional, feather-light, feel-good comedy: familiar, palatable and, most likely, forgettable mere moments after you leave the cinema.
RATING: Two-and-a-half out of five
The misfits Google internship team is portrayed by, from left, Tobit Raphael, Dylan O'Brien, Josh Brener, Tiya Sircar, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. (Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox)
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