What is even more incredible about The Internship is that Google isn't listed anywhere on the list of production companies. It apparently paid no money to feature in the movie and the idea originated with Vince Vaughn, not the Google marketing department. However being so pivotal to the plot, Google would no doubt have ensured their representation was nothing but favourable and that is where the big problems in The Internship stem from.
The final surprise of The Internship is that shock horror, I actually quite enjoyed it. Telling the story of Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) and reuniting the stars for the first time since the wonderful Wedding Crashers, The Internship follows the two salesmen as they lose their jobs and decide to give internships at Google a go. Never mind the preposterous idea that Google would give these technophobe dinosaurs the time of day, once the pair get out of the unemployment doldrums, the rest of the film takes place at Google headquarters as they join with other interns and take part in a competition to win a coveted job at the company.
The product placement is crass, monotonous and occasionally makes you cringe. They mention Search, Translate, Android, Google+ and the entire story is plotted around working at Google (and the benefits and quirky fun of it all) and the development of their (wonderful) products, even their quest for (beneficial) advertising revenue and their (helpful) help lines. While it feels integral to this story and it makes for a sweet and good natured look at working at the technological giant, it also feels like toothless propagandha and anyone with their doubts about Google and their intentions will have to grit their teeth to stop themselves from shouting at the screen.
On the other hand Vaughn and Wilson are as likeable as ever, with Vaughn in particular playing a much more sensitive and less abrasive character than usual. The comedic talents of Rose Byrne are almost completely wasted but the supporting cast of interns all get to shine in their own ways, even if the central bonding experience of the film takes place in a sleazy strip joint and the aftermath of a drunken night of debauchery.
While many comedies feel stretched at two hours, The Internship packs plenty in and won't make you keep checking your watch (or phone if that's how you tell the time, as this film suggests). There is a decent Will Ferrell cameo near the start and the end credits (even after all the rampant product placement that came before) manage to be engaging and inventive enough to sit through, even after the two hour run time.
I expected to hate The Internship despite my love of Wedding Crashers. While it does not hold a candle to that slice of comedy gold, Vaughn and Wilson pull it through with their easy charm and a fun supporting cast of Googly intern oddballs. It's just a shame that the makers had to be so in thrall to Google as there should have been a much sharper scathing satire of corporate culture lurking somewhere within and far more worth searching for.
Here is the trailer:
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