UK Release Date: 4th July 2013
Runtime: 119 minutes
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Vince Vaughn, Jared Stern
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Max Minghella
Synopsis: Two high-end watch salesmen are left unemployed as their analogue industry becomes obsolete. Trying to embrace the modern age, they apply to become interns at Google.
At first glance, The Internship looked like it was going to be terrible and nothing more than an exercise in marketing for Google. The Guardian deftly described it as “a $60m PR blowjob,” summing up pretty much what everyone was thinking. Despite the PR criticisms being more or less sound, the film is a very nice surprise.
Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are high-flying watch salesmen, but their lives take a downward turn when their boss (John Goodman) folds the company, calling personal timepieces obsolete. Desperate to catch up with the modern world, the pair apply for a Google internship programme where Nick begins to fall for an attractive Googler (Rose Byrne) and the pair clash with an arrogant tech whizz (Max Minghella).
Somehow, out of a quite terrible premise that casts 40 as the new 80, The Internship manages to escape as a perfectly amiable comedy film. It’s never laugh-out-loud hilarious, but is regularly amusing and mostly gets carried through solely on the charm of Wilson and Vaughn, who are both funnier here than they have been in quite some time.
The Internship is almost two hours long, but it never feels padded. The story is about as formulaic as they come, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it’s so nice to spend time with the characters. Rose Byrne, although funnier in I Give it a Year, proves to be interesting and The Social Network’s Max Minghella makes for an enjoyably irritating villain. Cameos from Will Ferrell and John Goodman also prove to be highlights.
The elephant in the room for any reviewer of The Internship is the obvious product placement for Google. The entire film is essentially an advert for Google. However, a company as ubiquitous as Google doesn’t need a film to publicise them. This is why, despite the constant Google references, it never feels like the film is actually advertising to the audience. It doesn’t need to.
Rather surprisingly, The Internship has been absolutely savaged by critics. Its Rotten Tomatoes rating, at the time of writing, is less than half that of the awful This is the End, which suggests that the critical fraternity prefer their comedy vulgar as opposed to charming and warm.
Obviously, it would be nice if The Internship didn’t set a trend for films that are essentially marketing exercises. But, when Hollywood comedy mostly revolves around drugs, excrement and genitals, this was a very pleasant antidote.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.