Friday, June 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Internship

Let me begin by saying that I was quite apprehensive about this movie. I'm not generally a fan of this kind of goofball humor, The Hangover and 21 and Over (which I reviewed earlier this year) being the exception. I've enjoyed movies like Not Another Teen Movie and the original Scary Movie, which parodied their respective genera, but no movies like Wedding Crashers or Old School have ever really jumped out at me. So, when the opportunity to see The Internship presented itself this week, I went in with a great deal of timidity.

The Internship, which stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, is arguably an indirect sequel to Wedding Crashers. The pair play partners who have got by on peddling their wares as salesmen of high end watches, but when their company goes belly up, they are left with no recourse but to choose a new path. Wilson's character lands a job at a mattress store and the manager is a surprising cameo. Vaughn's character, however, is much more of a schemer and concocts a plan for the two to interview for an internship at Google.

What follows is an hour and a half commercial for the billion dollar corporation based out of California. When the pair score an internship, after an awkward interview in which they participate in a Google Hangout, they are left as part of a ragtag group of Noogle misfits. The rest of the cast includes some fairly typical characters including spoiled rich-kid asshole Max, who is deemed the villain of the film. If Google was Hogwarts, Max would definitely have been in Slytherin. It's fairly easy to identify what houses the other characters would be in, though in this case our heroes aren't in Gryffindor.

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
The movie is packed with pop culture references, both from the younger set and from Vaugh and Wilson,
who default to 80's movies for the analogy du jour. One thing that bothered me was how clueless their characters were. I can see being so focused on their jobs in sales that they might not have a lot of computer skills, but not knowing about anything going on in the world around you is a bit troubling. Wilson's character referenced The Hunger Games, couldn't identify something from Harry Potter.

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
I would like to have seen a bit more character development. There characters are pretty flat and it is really just Vince Vaughn's character that has significant change over the course the movie. Owen Wilson's character that has a romantic interest and I really did like Dana, played by Rosa Byrne. I wish that they had done more with Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien and really with all of the interns. They were just sort of present, but we didn't get a terrible amount of depth with them. I really liked Josh Brener, who played tech prodigy Lyle, and thought that he was a great fit for his role.

I wasn't even really turned off by the love letter from director Shawn Levy to Google itself, who allowed the production to shoot on its campus and provided technical support for the film. I know that the movie has taken a lot of flack about the Google product placement and we haven't seen anything of this magnitude since Fred Savage starred in The Wizard, a commercial for Nintendo marketed as a video game movie. Product placement is everywhere. We use Google products every day. Would this have been a bit more relevant a few years ago before Google became so ubiquitous? Perhaps, but I still enjoyed the film.

Is The Internship the best movie? No, but I think it has a lot of heart and it there are moments with glimmers of hope that the movie might even come across as inspiring. It's definitely about team work, self confidence, and not giving up on yourself or others. There are some great laughs throughout the movie and a lot of the pop culture references are completely timely and appropriate for the scene.

I went into The Internship with no expectations and ended up enjoying it for the most part. I call that a win. You can see my first impressions on my movie in my Kentucky Geek Girl At the Movies feature on  Youtube.

The Internship, directed by Shawn Levy and starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, is in theaters now.

I received free admission to The Internship on Monday, June 3, 2013 courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox and AMC Theaters. The screening was to generate buzz for the movie and I received no monetary compensation for this review.

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