Let’s be honest here: The Internship is not a movie that would normally make it onto my summer radar. For one, my tolerance for dumb comedies is pretty low, and Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson tend to be hit-or-miss for me. Sometimes I really love the stuff they do (Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers), and other times it makes me want to stick a fork in my eye (Four Christmases, I Spy).
For two, it’s a movie about the tech industry—which is my day job—and Hollywood is notoriously terrible about how they handle pretty much any and all computer-related things. So it’s also an invitation to an hour and a half of resisting the urge to scream “COMPUTERS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY” in the middle of a crowded theater.
However, there are certain things you can do to get me to see a movie like this. One, take an actor I really, really like.
Two, put him in glasses.
What will inevitably happen is I will come out of some kind of fog at the theater, movie ticket in hand, wondering why the hell my bank balance is $10 lighter.
Which is almost exactly what happened to Eris and me on Sunday.
Thankfully, The Internship was pretty entertaining; I laughed more than I expected (though yes, I did bury my head in my hands several times). *
However, it really wasn’t as good as Wedding Crashers, and frankly, it’s kind of strange to watch a movie and realize you’ve spent two hours basically watching other people do your job.
Nick (Owen Wilson) and Billy (Vince Vaughn) are best friends, salesmen, and very, very good at what they do. So they’re understandably surprised when the company they work for closes its doors, the owner retires to Florida, and they’re left without jobs.
Billy, always the one with the big ideas, gets them an interview for a summer internship at Google (that could possibly lead to a job), and thanks to some quick talking, they actually get in. But they’re competing with hundreds of other kids who are twice as smart as them and much more comfortable in the tech world than Nick and Billy are. Can Nick and Billy make their old-school skills relevant in this strange new world, or will they be left behind?
First off, the tech stuff—not nearly as bad as I feared (probably in a large part because Google had their name all over this). The parts that made me cringe were supposed to make you cringe (at least, I hope they were), and they, for the most part, glossed over anything more technical than a few mentions of HTML5. (This was kind of a relief.)
(I also had a lot of trouble believing that two 40ish-year-old guys would be that clueless about the Internet and online stuff, but when I mentioned that to Jessica, she gave me a horrified look and assured me it was very possible. She spends more time talking to people about this than I do. 🙂 )
For the most part, I liked Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in this, though Vaughn was a little more hit or miss for me. Sometimes his stuff was hysterical, and other times I just wanted to beg him to stop talking. Nothing in here was as clever or memorable as their stuff in Wedding Crashers, except perhaps for the very, very beginning, when they’re listening to Alanis Morissette’s Ironic to psych themselves up for a sales meeting.
And really, it surprised me how much I enjoyed the sales scenes, particularly the ones near the end. I think it’s because I’ve been involved peripherally in enough of those meetings to understand the feelings on both sides, hearing the objections and scrambling to deal with them. An odd thing to click with, but there you go.
But once you get past all the Google stuff, The Internship sticks close to the standard underdog story formula. The interns are all split into groups and must compete in various contests, and the group with the highest score will be the ones offered jobs. And of course, Nick and Billy are left with the outcasts.
Watching the movie, it was far too easy to mentally call out what was going to happen next. Heck, even if you’ve seen the trailer you can make a fairly educated guess as to how things are going to go.
It’s not impossible to overcome predictability, but if your story is hitting all the standard beats, you’ve got to find a way to twist it up just a little bit. It’s for this reason that one of the best bits, easily, is the Quidditch game, which almost had me rolling on the ground. Unfortunately, except for another couple of scenes, the rest of the movie wasn’t quite as clever about surprising the audience.
So, overall: not as bad as I expected, but still not as good as some other comedies Vaughn and Wilson have done. I saw it at a matinee and feel like I got my money’s worth, though with movies like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Man of Steel in theaters, it’s difficult to advocate seeing this one before it hits DVD.
* Of COURSE I loved Dylan O’Brien in it. What, was there a question of that? Then again, I’m pretty sure I could watch him make snarky comments for two hours straight and be perfectly happy… Actually, I know I can because I’ve chain-watched six episodes of Teen Wolf in one sitting.