Wednesday, 12 June 2013


20th Century Fox Films

Now Showing

I'll admit my bias from the outset: I am not a fan of either Owen Wilson or Vince Vaughn. I simply don't find either of them funny; I was one of the few who didn't RSVP the laughs for their only previous big screen coupling, the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers. So no, I was not looking forward to The Internship.

The unfunny duo, combined with what looked likely to be a movie-length advertisement for multi-billion dollar search engine Google, had set off many red flags but I ventured to see it anyway. And much to my surprise, I didn't loathe it. I actually found it rather funny. Not laugh-out-loud or side-splittingly funny, mind, but amusing just the same.

Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are high end wristwatch salesmen who are sharply made aware when the company they work for closes that, other than those who can afford to buy high end wristwatches (and even then only as a status symbol), the time piece's time has passed; superseded by mobile phones which tell the time as well as do all manner of wondrous things.

Forced to contend with a much changed job market, Billy hits on the idea of applying for an internship with Google (the film is indeed product placement writ large; I wouldn't be surprised if the company contributed $1 million to the budget with each mention of their name. This sees Billy and Nick competing with hundreds of much younger, more tech savvy individuals who are both hungry for the opportunity and as cynical as all hell about the world in general; all of them converging on Google's San Francisco campus, which resembles the nerd equivalent of a hippie commune and, other than the free coffee, looks like my idea of a hellish work environment.

Teamed with a bunch of outsiders (yes, even geeks have a class system!), Billy and Nick begin as the butt of their teammates' (and the film's) jokes, before eventually winning them (and, surprise, me!) over. Billy might not completely understand the concept of Instagram, and Nick may be more concerned with impressing standoffish Google employee, Dana (Rose Byrne), than intern manager, Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi), but young and old will get their act together come the third act.

Yes, The Internship is predictable (and unnecessarily drawn-out in spite of it) but refreshingly for a modern Hollywood comedy, it's neither mean-spirited nor gross-out. And the themes -- that "old" people have much to offer in the modern workplace, and that your life isn't over at 21 should you miss out on that dream job or university place (you have your whole life ahead of you!) -- are well intentioned.

If, like me, you can put aside your dislike of the two leads and the incessant promotion of the search engine, you're bound to have a reasonably enjoyable time with The Internship. It's not champagne comedy but nor is it lowest common denominator; more like an actual intern who does what they're asked to do without going above and beyond. You wouldn't give it the job but you'd happily write it a positive reference.

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