Directed by: Shawn Levy
Premise: Two middle aged salesmen (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) lose their jobs and take an internship at Google. After being paired with other misfits they must compete against other groups of interns for a job at the company.
What Works: The Internship reunites the stars of Wedding Crashers and Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are still a viable comedy team. Like their previous outings, Wilson and Vaughn bounce off each other very well but they also allow for moments of vulnerability that make them likable. The rest of the core cast is very promising, including Josh Brener, Dylan O’Brien, Tobit Raphael, and Tiya Sircar. Although they are all playing stereotypes each actor adds enough personality to his or her character to flesh out the role and they hold their own against the more seasoned performers. The cast also includes Max Minghella as the elitist leader of a rival intern team, and Minghella is able to be antagonistic even though the movie does not actually give him anything to do.
What Doesn’t: The presence of actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn recalls Wedding Crashers but the comparisons between that film and The Internship go well beyond its stars. This movie is Wedding Crashers with the names changed, and it follows every beat and plot twist of that film but without the same comic consistency or mischievous energy. Like Wedding Crashers, Wilson and Vaughn play a pair of frauds who talk their way into a place they don’t belong and use their people skills to get ahead. Instead of football, the interns play a game of Quidditch and in the course of the story the two leads break up but eventually reconcile. The comparisons with Wedding Crashers are most apparent in the supporting roles. In place of Rachel McAdams, The Internship features Rose Byrne as Owen Wilson’s unattainable love interest but they have very little romantic heat between them. Max Minghella is cast in essentially the same role played by Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers but he is even less of an antagonist because the movie rarely puts him in direct conflict with anyone. Aasif Mandvi plays a supervisor who is akin to the role played by Christopher Walken and Rob Riggle is cast in the part formally held by Will Ferrell. As much as it apes Wedding Crashers, The Internship fails to be as funny as that picture, in large part because it is restrained by a PG-13 sensibility, and it tends to exacerbate the problems of the 2005 film. The characters played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers should not be likable at all, as they spend the entire movie lying to people, especially women. The filmmakers got away with that through humor but also because the characters learned to stop lying. By comparison, Wilson and Vaughn’s characters in The Internship aren’t nearly as horrible but they’re also not as interesting and they don’t learn anything about themselves by the end of the movie. Like Wedding Crashers, The Internship also has a very problematic relationship with its female characters. The women of The Internship are either cold-fish like Rose Byrne’s character or pin-ups like the dancer played by Jessica Szohr. The other major problem of The Internship is its relationship with Google. The picture is a feature length commercial for a corporate giant but that isn’t its biggest fault. The Internship has the Jaws 3-D problem. The 1983 film is a feature length commercial for Sea World but the story is about a killer shark eating tourists at the park, making Jaws 3-D one of the worst cross-promotions in Hollywood history. The Internship depicts Google not as a serious corporation that is changing the world but as a frat house populated by snobby and obnoxious people. This movie is about as likely to make you want to work at Google as Waiting is to make you want to work at Applebees, and perhaps less so.
Bottom Line: The Internship is uncomfortably similar to Wedding Crashers and it suffers by comparison. The movie isn’t very funny and it comes across as a lazy knock off of the 2005 film.
Episode: #443 (June 16, 2013)