The Internship (M)
Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne
DIRECTOR SHAWN LEVY
REVIEW MARK NAGLAZAS
You’ll like this if you liked Working Girl, Old School, Wedding Crashers, The Social Network, Up in the Air.
There's so little credibility in The Internship, audiences might as well be asked to swallow that the pair of washed-up middle-aged watch salesmen played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson become (via a Skype interview) interns, not at Google but Cedars-Sinai, and start performing open-heart surgery.
Also is it possible that anyone in this day use the term "the online", as Vaughn's Bill does when pitching an idea to the other young Google interns? It's a very amusing nod to President George Bush's infamous reference to "the Google". But he made that in 2006.
Step into any public space and you will see folks who came of age when programming a computer involved punching holes in cards now Facebooking, Tweeting and Instagraming on their iPads with Zuckerberg-like zeal.
While I didn't believe The Internship for a moment, the film's overall point about older workers facing a relevancy and employment crisis in the face of the digital revolution adds a degree of urgency and poignancy to proceedings.
When we are introduced to watch salesman Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) they have just been told by their boss (John Goodman) that nobody wants their product anymore. "If people want to know the time they look at their phones," he tells these analog guys.
While Nick gets a job as a bedding salesman and endures the humiliation of being bossed around by his appalling aggressive toottoed brother-in-law (a funny uncredited Will Ferrell), Billy secures the pair a webcam interview for an internship at Google, which hopefully will lead to full-time jobs at the high-tech behemoth (this despite the fact they treat Skype like the first users of Alexander Graham Bell's game-changing innovation).
As quick as you can check "like" on your Facebook page the pair of Alanis Morrissette-loving luddites find themselves at the Googleplex, Google's Magic Kingdom-like headquarters in Mountain View in the heart of Silicon Valley in California, engaged in a battle against dozens of bright youngsters anxious to climb aboard the high-tech juggernaut driving the world economy.
Not surprisingly, these fortysomethings, who can't tell the difference between a bit and a byte, are completely out of their depth as they are shut out of the competition by their team members, a bunch of dysfunctional dorks who themselves are getting cleaned up by a snotty, hard-driving Brit (Max Minghella) who treats Billy and Nick like relics from the Jurassic age.
But eventually this pair of former high-school jocks stage a late-game comeback, rallying the despondent troops in a game of Quidditch (a rather forced, nonsensical sequence) and then using their people skills and life experience to put their team back in the race for the prized Google positions.
It's fun but not especially convincing watching Vaughn and Wilson putting on their clueless act in the early scenes at Google.
So when the tables turn, and the youngsters hit bars and nightclubs with Billy and Nick, the film kicks into gear and introduces the idea that each generation has something to teach the other.
"You're too young to be cynical," Wilson's wonderfully sincere Nick tells his despondent team members, an interesting cross-section of the generation who came of age during the global financial crises and who, they explain, are entering a world of diminished expectations.
While there is too much of the pop culture referencing (especially for guys as supposedly unaware as Billy and Nick) the carefully mismatched leads have undeniable charm, with Vaughn's motormouth retro-hustler schtick nicely contrasted with the dreamy, laid-back sincerity of Wilson.
Of course, The Internship is a two-hour commercial for Google that has turned off many.
But Google is now so much a part of the fabric of our age that it would be like making All The President's Men and not mentioning The Washington Post, an institution that, sadly, may not outlive the said search engine.