By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
Actors Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up once again in what essentially could have been labeled as a sequel to 2005’s Wedding Crashers. In The Internship, the comedy duo may portray less conniving and more genuinely affable characters than the horn dogs conning women into bed, but they basically have some of the same traits. As usual Vince Vaughn does his fast talking salesman routine, but tones it down some here, and Owen Wilson does his usual sweet and smooth talking, charming Texan routine. It is obvious that these gentlemen would rather fall into these easy stock characters of theirs than to do anything dramatically risky. However, Vaughn and Wilson’s desire to fall into their usual comfortable roles is not what bothers me the most about this movie. It is the formulaic and cliché approach the filmmakers took in creating this stale and often unfunny comedy which irritates me the most.
Vaughn and Wilson portray Billy and Nick, two business partners and best buddies who have reached a crossroads in their lives. For several years, they have had a moderately successful career as watch salesmen, but because wrist timekeepers have grown obsolete, Billy and Nick find themselves unemployed and lost with an uncertain career future. The duo decides to pursue an internship at the digitally innovative Google in hopes of scoring paying jobs. However, they face some stiff competition for some brilliant and much younger interns.
Written by Vaughn and Jared Smith, and directed by Shawn Levy, The Internship may have the innovative Google as its setting, but is anything but. The story has the typical “charming underdogs use their talents to overcome adversity” story. I did pretty much get what I was expecting out of the plot, but at least hoped the humor would keep things fresh and entertaining. The movie does have its funny moments, a couple of which are hilarious, but so many of the attempts at humor made cringe in my seat. Also, Vaughn and Wilson’s routines did grate on me at times. I enjoyed their work in Wedding Crashers, but that movie has so much more going for it. In addition to the fact that their routine was still fairly young in 2005, the movie has other hilarious characters and scenarios that were far sharper and wittier than anything done in this movie. Wedding Crashers is edgy, wild, and fresh. The Internship is benign, formulaic and stale.
Even the “villain”, the antagonistic rival named Graham played by Max Minghella, is cut from the usual mold of “class bully” characters. If this movie had been made during the 1980s, the role would have been played by William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid). While Minghella does a fine job as the snooty and snarky character, the writers could have come up with a more interesting challenge for the film’s protagonists. I won’t go into too much detail on the remaining cast members who all deliver adequate performances in other cookie cutter roles.
And cookie cutter perfectly describes the film as a whole. Actually, the entire piece plays like a high budget promotional film for Google. The message that stayed with me when leaving this screening is that Google is an incredible place to work. Heck, if I was at least ten years younger and more tech savvy, I would love to work there. The work environment looks wonderful! So if looking for a sharp witted and hilarious comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, then re-watch Wedding Crashers. If interested in getting a glimpse into the work environment of Google, one might look for videos on line. Otherwise, there’s always this mostly flat and dull formulaic comedy that glorifies the Google work experience.