by Michael Walters
The Cantankerous Critic
Since “Wedding Crashers,” Vince Vaughn has steadily lowered his audience’s expectations with a series of lazy performances, before bottoming out with the unholy trinity of “Couples Retreat,” “The Dilemma,” and “The Watch.” And it is this very, very low bar that “The Internship” manages to sail over.
Vaughn re-teams with Owen Wilson as a pair of watch salesman thrown out of work by the recession, and down on their luck. They connive to get internships at Google by falsifying their resumes and telling a hard-luck story. Improbably, they succeed.
In the film’s warped logic – since every other applicant is a 19-year-old socially maladjusted math whiz – two middle aged white guys count as diversity.
The film is a big wet kiss to the search giant, painting it as nothing short of a Silicon Valley Nirvana. Owen Wilson’s character actually calls it the best theme park you could imagine as a child, but a million times better.
The film boils down to essentially a college campus slobs vs. snobs comedy. Vaughn and Wilson – despite having absolutely no knowledge of coding or computers – lead up a team of social pariahs as they compete to score the few full-time jobs available. But they bring valuable life experience to this team of social misfits, and the hope is that the two can come together.
Their chief villain is Max Minghella, a prep school know-it-all who tries to bring down the boys at every turn.
Vaughn and Wilson have an undeniable chemistry, and it really does bring out the best in Vaughn’s onscreen persona. Vaughn inspiring his team by repeatedly referencing “Flashdance” really shouldn’t work, but he and Wilson sell it with the professionalism of two old hands who know what they’re doing. It’s not as silly as it sounds, either. I once had an economics professor who spent a whole class dissecting Pretty Woman.
“The Internship” isn’t exactly good; it’s more like not exactly terrible, but it does contain some surprising laughs – including a cameo you can probably guess, but I won’t give away here.
Compared to what audiences have been served in the previous the eight years, “The Internship” winds up looking a lot better than it really is.