The Internship Movie Review
At one point in THE INTERNSHIP, Billy McMahon (played by the fast talking Vince Vaughn) describes in humorous detail the plot from the 80’s classic FLASHDANCE in order to motivate his team of underdog interns competing in a Quiditch match for a job at Google. Depending on how you feel about that previous sentence, might determine your view on the film. Perhaps I’m looking a bit too deeply, but I believe the essence of the 80’s magic captured in the very film referenced is the main goal of the comedic movie I’m reviewing. While that aspiration falls far short from an old John Hughes comedy, THE INTERNSHIP has a certain charm that managed to keep a smile on my face throughout.
A smile on my face may not be a ringing endorsement, but considering the lack of substance and the absence of any uproariously memorable laughs, I would say THE INTERNSHIP nearly maxes out its potential. The PG-13 comedy definitely has some hard edged jokes through language and sexual connotation but overall is rather light-hearted and uplifting. The film serves almost as an advertisement for Google who has been credited with being a good sport, but I believe was a genius for finding a clever way to promote their company.
The great comedic pairing of WEDDING CRASHERS duo Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play Billy and Nick. After losing their sales jobs for a watch company that is going out of business and realizing they don’t have the necessary skill set for today’s economy to find another job, the two try their hand at a summer Google internship. Billy and Nick are nearly twice the age of their competition, but while they know very little about technology or the difference between being online and on the line, they make up for it in experience with the ability to communicate to and motivate people. They join up with a few very intelligent but socially awkward outcast interns: Stuart (Dylan O’Brien) who masks his insecurities with mean spirited sarcasm and social media, Yo-Yo (Tobit Raphael) who clearly feels pressure from his mother and acts out his nervous energy by pulling out his eyebrows, Neha (Tiya Sircar) who as the female member is relegated to a sexual characteristic, and Lyle (Josh Brener) who scores some of the bigger laughs with his jive talking attempt to be cool. In order to gain a job with Google, their team must beat out several other teams in a variety of challenging and absurd competitions.
Director Shawn Levy relies heavily on his two leads. By leaving the camera on Vaughn and Wilson, he allows them room to be funny but also delivers a rather flat vision that could have otherwise energized many scenes. Supporting turns by names like Will Ferrell, Rob Riggle, Aasif Mandvi, John Goodman and Josh Gad all do a fine job but the two stars are clearly Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Vaughn penned the story that features many jokes that are stand alone scenes of him and Wilson humorously playing off one another in nonsensical dialogue. These are definitely the films shining moments that will surely emit some genuine laughs but also spotlight the fact that the story appears to be written around these jokes as they don’t have a lot to do with one another. In probably the most unnecessary subplot, Nick pursues a reluctant love interest played by Rose Byrne. While their date has some funny moments, their story leading up to it is rather bland detracting from the comedy in an already thin plot.
What’s an 80’s movie without an evil villain to root against? Max Minghella plays the bullying competitive Graham with all the jerky narcissism you love to hate. THE INTERNSHIP may lose some energy through poor pacing, but it capitalizes in a perfectly ridiculous cheesy 80’s formula ending. Ironically, an intern probably too young to catch the FLASHDANCE reference mentioned before, is the one who actually calls Billy out on it. No doubt this recognition is provided for most of the audience who are also unaware of the 80’s reference. While the film may only reach that audience from my generation who has a foot in both the non technological and advanced technological world, Vaugh and Wilson are able to pull together some decent laughs that help THE INTERNSHIP capture a little of that elusive 80’s magic.