Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, thet defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brillian college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group pf the nation’s most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.
Shawn Levy’s The Internship follows Owen Wilson’s Nick and Vince Vaughn’s Billy as they try to embrace the digital age after they are fired from their jobs doing the only thing they are good at – selling products to people who probably don’t need them. They do this by applying for an internship with Google and find themselves competing with kids twenty years their junior. Kids who are smarter, faster and generally just better than them.
For a comedy featuring two of today’s most reliable comedy actors, The Internship doesn’t start off with its best foot forward. The story seems content to plod along (and anyone who has seen the trailer will know most of the punchlines to the jokes in the first half hour or so before they happen). And whilst you will find yourself chuckling at Billy and Nick’s introduction to the world of Google and being ‘on the line’ (even as you get slightly annoyed that they are so unrealistically technologically inept when we first meet them) and seeing them put into a team who become increasingly exasperated at being lumbered with such technological dinosaurs, you really think the movie should be a whole lot funnier than it is. Especially when Will Ferrell turns up, in his now slightly overused ‘a-hole’ persona, for a mostly laugh free cameo. It unfortunately feels like the movie is relying on the great chemistry, comedic timing and easy rapport between the leads to fill out the runtime.
That’s why it is such a relief that once the movie kicks into gear, around about the time the Interns are forced to face off against each other in a game of ‘Quiddich’ (Don’t ask, it’s better if you see it for yourself), the film finally finds its feet and the jokes start to come thick and fast. Nick and Billy start to bond with their new team – which includes Josh Brener’s insecure Lyle, Tiya Sircar’s naughty but nice Neha, Dylan, O’Brien’s too cool for school Stuart and Tobit Raphael’s mummy issue riddled Yo-Yo – with a scene involving the group hitting a night-club being a highlight (and leading to the creation of what I can only describe as the greatest App idea ever, an App that prevents Drunk Texting/dialling… which let’s face, at one time or another we could all have used). Sure the movie can lean slightly towards schmaltzy as Nick and Billy start to take on big brother/father figure roles within the group, but thankfully there is always a few jokes thrown in to offset the cheese factor… usually supplied by Yo-Yo, who gets a lot of the memorable lines.
Wilson and Vaughn could do these types of quick fire bromantic comedy roles in their sleep and Wilson’s laid back charm is the perfect accompaniment to Vaughn’s overly enthusiastic man-child shenanigans. The drama in Wilson’s story involves his attempts to woo the icy and work driven Rose Byrne (and this includes a great ‘worst date’ scene) whilst Vaughn’s story arc sees him start to question his own abilities. Nothing too unexpected or straining going on here but the two do always manage to entertain, with Vaughn perhaps coming out on top with his frequent (and usually irrelevant) pep talks that mostly revolve around the 80’s dance movie ‘Flashdance‘ for some reason. If anyone gets the short end of the stick in the script, it’s Max Minghella, who is stuck with the least interesting/amusing role in the film, a generic antagonist called Graham.
I could see people having issues with a few things in the movie. Such as the fact that the movie does gloss over some actually quite relevant themes, such as workers becoming obsolete in today’s technological reliant society and the pressures put on young people to find themselves jobs, but at the end of the day, this is a comedy first and foremost – So if those kinds of concerns are going to be running through your head as you’re watching the film, then you’d probably do better off just avoiding it. There is also the shameless Google plugs throughout the movie. Sure, the Google love can get a little overwhelming at times (especially as it is portrayed as the greatest working environment you could ever imagine) but if the movie had been based around a random and fictitious ‘search engine’ company, it would just have been compared to ‘Google’ anyway so they’re kinda damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
After a slow start, The Internship builds up steam and becomes the movie you were hoping to see, thanks to two great leads, a solid supporting cast and a script that only gets better as the movie progresses. Sure, there aren’t too many surprises along the way (and the Google product placement can be a bit much at times) but for anyone looking for a feel good, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining movie this weekend, I’d suggest checking it out. If only there was a search engine you could use to find out when it will be playing near you…