The Internship review

    So far, 2013 is a great year for fans of the Frat Pack actors (and therefore an abysmal year for the rest of us moviegoers), with the exciting and not-at-all-predictable conclusion to The Hangover Part III behind us and the long-awaited Anchorman 2 (or 5, if you count Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, and Semi-Pro) coming this December. As eight years have gone by since Wedding Crashers, it’s been far too long since Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn have teamed up, so director Shawn Levy decided that the duo should reunite on a new, topical backdrop: Google!  Don’t worry, loyal viewers, it’s not really product placement. Google donated no money to The Internship. It’s just Levy and the rest of the movie industry staying relevant by showing you they actually know what’s hip in the year 2003, I mean 2013 (note the clever Quidditch match later in the film).

Considering Levy directed Cheaper by the Dozen, his grasp on reality is just as loose. Every single suggestion that job opportunities are scarce is quickly shrugged off. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) apply to Google with the goofiest, most awkward, least professional webcam plea imaginable. So why does one of the most competitive and elite corporations accept these two bumbling 30-somethings? It’s not because of their impressive college degrees. They temporarily enroll in strawman online university University of Phoenix and do little more than wear T-shirts boasting of their supposed academic accomplishment. It’s not because of their illustrious history of employment. They briefly work in minimum wage stints as salesmen under John Goodman and Will Ferrell, who are both uncredited and wasted in cameos lasting five minutes each, apparently for the same reason; if they were credited and appeared more frequently, people might see The Internship for someone other than Vaughn and/or Wilson. The reason that Google bothers to give Billy and Nick the time of day is that “they need more diversity.” Good thing this is Hollywood, because if this were reality, your Internet searches would be about to become much more inconvenient.

With John Goodman kept under wraps, the breakthrough role ends up being Nick’s love interest Dana (Rose Byrne), an Australian workaholic whose occupation has absorbed the rest of her life, and who is the film’s sole link to reality. It’s fitting that she’s the only Google employee who completely doubts that Billy and Nick are the “diversity” the internship program is looking for, unlike others, such as the obnoxiously upbeat Lyle (Josh Brener), the film’s attempt at comic relief (a tip for Levy: It’s not a good sign when your comedies rely on only one or two supporting characters for humor). If Levy’s goal in creating the frail, silly corporate world of The Internship was to provide its viewers with escapism, he failed because they’ll always wind up thinking back to reality, which might be bleaker than The Internship, but is still a hell of a lot more engaging. (119 min.)


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