Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn
2 (out of 5) Globes
In "The Internship," Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson remind audiences that, even though they haven’t paired up since "Wedding Crashers" eight years ago, they can still turn on the chatty, confident charm. It’s definitely needed for this movie: a formulaic, lightweight comedy literally released 10 years too late. Vaughn and Wilson are Billy and Nick, longtime buddies and wristwatch salesmen who awkwardly find out their company no longer exists in the middle of a sales pitch. Billy gets the rather desperate — but comically appropriate — idea of applying for an internship at Google in the hopes of getting a job there. (He got this idea while searching for jobs on Google, natch.) Somehow, he convinces Nick to quit his job and roll the dice too.
Of course, once they show up at Google headquarters, they find they’re the lone elder fish in a sea of smart, ambitious guppies. In order for them to get actual jobs, they must team up with a crew of outcast outcasts, including a self-abusing Asian with mommy issues (Tobit Raphael), a sarcastic yet studly hipster (Dylan O’Brien) and the resident geek hottie (Tiya Sircar). Initially, these kids reject them for their antiquated ways. But you know these youngsters won’t resist for long, especially when our stars take them to their first strip club, where they get lap dances and tequila shots galore.
Directed by Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum") as though he had some time to kill and just needed to get out of the house, "The Internship" is quietly deceitful on many levels. Since Vaughn (who co-wrote the script) already starred in "Old School," appearing in yet another farce where he plays the BOMOC (Big, Old Man On Campus) would seem derivative. But make no mistake: "The Internship" is basically "Vince and Owen Go Back to School." All the stock characters are here: There’s the uppity mentor type (Aasif Mandvi) who gives our heroes a hard time to see if they have what it takes; the villainous rival (Max Minghella) who’s merely there to act obnoxious toward everyone; the fetching, sexy-scholar exec (Rose Byrne) who catches Wilson’s eye and falls for his charms; and even a weird, smart dude (Josh Gad) there to help our boys out in their time of need.
It is easy to dismiss "The Internship" as a two-hour ad for Google. It’s also a two-hour recruitment film for Google. Considering the movie makes the search-engine compound look like the happiest place on Earth — complete with a spiral slide in the lobby, energy nap pods and free food that Vaughn spends most of the movie gorging on — it wouldn’t be surprising if Google had application tables set up in multiplex lobbies all over the country this weekend. But with its mature-wisdom-always-beats-youthful-ambition vibe, "The Internship" primarily lets all the old, fired/laid-off folk out there know that they still matter in this fast and furious world. If Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson can reunite and work their shtick in a bland, essentially empty-headed film like this one, there’s hope for us all.