Listen beautiful babies, I only have time to say this once and whether you’re just a baby chick or a full grown hen there’s not a lot of people that don’t know the cadence of a metaphor-laced Vince Vaughn pep-talk speech, but if you haven’t heard one of these fast paced gems it’s an anecdotal mess – but the kind of mess where something may accidentally come of it, I mean Columbus thought he was in the West Indies but it’s no reason to ridicule the man, it’s the genocide that maybe gives the guy a damaged rep but hey you gotta get back on the horse man, and do it like a champion, a CHAMPION!
And there you have the message of Vaughn’s latest buddy comedy, The Internship. Not genocide, but a mess where something worthwhile might occasionally, accidentally come out of it. Vaughn’s speeches have become less ‘cute’ and more cliché this time around, and so it goes with The Internship. The film opens with the most uncomfortable scene of the year where two forty-somethings played by Vaughn and co-star Owen Wilson wildly sing Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic,” which is ironically un-ironic as the scene is so cringe-inducing and not funny that you can’t wait for it to end. Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, two guys who lose their sales jobs and nonsensically end up as interns at Google in a final attempt to get their hands on that ever-elusive American dream. And just in case that wasn’t clear, prepare yourself for Owen Wilson’s tepid recitation of Langston Hughes’s “A Dream Deferred.”
Part of The Internship’s humor revolves around how old Vaughn and Wilson are compared to the young, spry geniuses typically courted by Google. However, that humor is lost rather quickly as it becomes too apparent that Vaughn and Wilson are simply too old for this. Wilson is especially awkward. He showed such promise in a more mature role with Woody Allen’s 2011 film Midnight in Paris, but it seems his days are numbered as the immature feathered haired sidekick. It’s laughable (in a bad way) to imagine that these two supposedly excellent salesmen still have live-in girlfriends and virtually no marketable skills. Nick’s foray into selling mattresses for his brother-in-law (played by Will Ferrell in a moderately funny cameo) proves that these guys are stereotypical screen characters just waiting to prove their worth at some inevitable time when their charm can benefit some unorthodox circumstance.
Simply put, the first act of this film has hardly any redeeming quality and if you walked out, I wouldn’t blame you. Nonetheless, if you suffer through the laborious opening, things do get better – not much better, but better. Bill and Nick (a pair of more ubiquitous names would be difficult to imagine) eventually find themselves the underdogs on a team of further underdogs who must compete against other intern teams for a chance at a full-time job with the company. The tasks are obscenely unconventional as the audience is constantly barraged by propaganda about Google’s progressive nature (Do Google interns truly take part in live competitive Quidditch matches?). Nonetheless, once the exposition is complete, the film livens up a bit with an entertaining nightclub scene and a funny take on a “first date” scene when Nick courts an executive named Dana (Rose Byrne) who has conveniently forgotten how to have fun and needs a man to remind her of what’s important (actually, feminists may want to avoid the movie in its entirety).
Vaughn and Wilson teamed up once before in the incomparably better film, Wedding Crashers. These two do have chemistry, but only if the material holds up. Unfortunately for The Internship, it does not and only the screenwriter is to blame, Vince Vaughn. Vaughn’s two other screenwriting credits, The Break-Up and Couples Retreat, happen to be equally vapid. His writing relies on cheap gags, stereotypes, and in the case of The Internship, a strange motif where the bushier a character’s eyebrows, the more villainous the character’s intentions. The Internship is basically a thinly veiled advertisement for the virtuosity and distinctiveness of Google. Unfortunately, for the average paying theater-goer, the film is not as innovative as its subject. Consider passing up this Internship. D