The Internship

Unfolding a bit like Dodgeball… With Computers, Vince Vaughn’s latest big-screen offering employs a tried-and-true formula to deliver an unexpectedly warm and genial (and very entertaining!) underdog comedy.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Comedy

Director: Shawn Levy

Actors: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella, Josh Brener, Dylan O’Brien, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael, Josh Gad

Year: 2013

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

Vaughn and Owen Wilson are Billy and Nick, two freshly unemployed watch salesmen desperate to find work that isn’t demeaning. When Billy discovers the corporate utopia that is Google and its Googleplex HQ (nap pods! free pudding! volleyball courts!), he and Nick decide to apply to the company’s prestigious internship program in the hopes of landing a full-time gig with the search-engine giant upon completion. Teamed with a group of rag-tag misfits (Dylan O’Brien, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael) and under the tutelage of geeky Google staffer Lyle (John Brener), the fellas quickly learn just how tech-unsavvy they are, and how rocky their road to victory (the winning team of interns automatically score job offers from Google) will be. The duo also winds up in the über-competitive crosshairs of snooty fellow intern Graham (Max Minghella), who’s determined to win at all costs… despite the fact that his asshat behavior goes against everything Google represents. (One of the film’s key story inconsistencies.)

What follows is, much like a typical sports-movie format, a series of challenges, ups and downs, and tests of faith for all our hapless heroes, who have to figure out a way to overcome their differences, work as a team and somehow emerge victorious despite their limitations. Thankfully, director Shawn Levy ensures the proceedings are super-clever (watch for epic levels of geektastic references sprinkled throughout) and move along at a lively pace. Though it’s nearly two-hours long, the movie never lags or drags.

Vaughn delivers his trademark endearing-smart-ass-with-a-heart-of-gold performance, and Wilson likewise churns out one of his standard-issue charming-guy-who-cracks-wise characters. But it all works, just like it’s worked before. Aasif Mandvi is an ideal comic foil and Byrne makes for a decent if somewhat bland love interest, but it’s the younger cast members who really get a chance to shine. Their characters are well-rounded and their personalities morph as their confidence grows.

And, at the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, you know what I loved most about this movie, though? That it’s clean. It’s not crass or rude or mean-spirited, the profanity is kept to a bare minimum and the film has a very distinct heart beating beneath its characters’ crazy antics. Vaughn wisely never tries to put down or make fun of the cast of oddball characters he’s co-created; instead, he – and his character – show them respect, treat them with kindness and, in the end, pretty much guarantee that you’ll walk out of the theater smiling.


The Blu-ray, which features the theatrical cut and an unrated version of the film, contains deleted scenes (most of them throwaway, except for one of a bizarre cosplay party featuring Will Ferrell as Boba Fett), an audio commentary by director Shawn Levy, and a strangely long-winded (almost 20 minutes) featurette called “Any Given Monday” about the Quidditch match in the film.

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  1. There’s a certain formula to your basic Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie, so it’s not like we don’t know what we’re going to get when we settle in to watch their latest venture. Their characters will most likely be immature ne’er-do-wells who are charming in a goofy fast-talking kind of way. They play the sort of guys you recognize as losers, but who win you over with sheer determination and misguided sweetness. What I tend to forget is that these formula comedies of theirs also have heart, and that’s what saves The Internship from being superfluous.

    Though the storyline is somewhat improbable, the notion of two middle-aged men who are becoming obsolete in the workforce attempting to carve out a niche in the high tech industry is hardly far-fetched. Nick (Owen Wilson) and Billy (Vince Vaughn) find themselves in an increasingly common predicament – the skills that once made them successful don’t exactly translate to today’s job market, but they’re both still very much in need of an income. As much as the movie makes light of pairing these 40-something doofuses with bright-eyed, left-brained college students, it does a surprisingly accurate and insightful job of illustrating the gap between generations (not to mention the gap between techies and right-brained folks). And while Nick and Billy are left feeling outdated and old, you begin to realize that these young overachievers have limitations too. Some of the students (and regular Google employees) are as socially inexperienced as Nick and Billy are technologically illiterate, but together they are unstoppable.

    The themes explored in The Internship are so universal that it’s hard not to relate on a personal level, even as you realize that what you’re seeing onscreen isn’t exactly Oscar bait. The laughs come easily, the characters are likable, and most of all, the movie delivers the hopeful sentiment that we are all worthwhile. That’s nice to hear, no matter how old you are.


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