x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The Internship is worth the ride

Google might play a starring role, but Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson add humour and heart to a silly, predictable story.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play out of touch, technologically challenged Google interns in The Internship. Phil Bray / AP Photo
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play out of touch, technologically challenged Google interns in The Internship. Phil Bray / AP Photo

The Internship

Director: Shawn Levy

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne


There are really three stars of The Internship: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Google. Actually, it's a surprise Google doesn't get top billing over the humans, it's displayed so adoringly.

But if you can get past this Mother of All Product Placements, you'll likely find yourself chuckling a lot during this silly but warm-hearted film. Sure, it could be shorter, the script could be less predictable and the action much more believable, but hey, this is Vaughn and Wilson, and they're pretty darned funny. Their characters may be woefully inept at technology, but chemistry? That Vaughn and Wilson have down.

The premise, like the whole movie, is far-fetched but enjoyable. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are watch salesmen who discover their company has shut down. Their own boss thinks they're dinosaurs. And so, of course, they apply for an unpaid internship at Google.


There was nothing else they could think of? Better to repress such logic-driven questions.

They get the job - chalk it down to diversity. At orientation, a stern taskmaster describes the Hunger Games-like ordeal ahead: there will be a set of challenges, with only the winning team attaining Google employment.

Perhaps because Google helped with the film, it is never once questioned that this is the ultimate place to work. From the free food to the nap pods to the driverless cars to the adult-sized slides and the always sunny days, this is the Shangri-La of the corporate world.

As Billy and Nick endure coding seminars and the like, evoking sneers from the brilliant, obnoxious youths around them, jokes about the generation gap abound. Implausibly, Vaughn's Billy keeps saying "on the line" instead of "online" - really, if he knew enough about Google to apply there, wouldn't he know the term "online"?

Still, it's amusing. And he does seem stuck in 1983, so obsessed is he with the film Flashdance. Plenty of other movie references pop up. There's even a Quidditch game and a very funny reference to Back to the Future. It's apt, really, because you could say this is a film about time travel.

Will Billy and Nick survive their trial by technology? Will their self-centered competitors come to see the value of a couple of old dinosaurs?

Do we really need to ask?

As corny and obvious as the script, co-written by Vaughn and Jared Stern, can be, there's a sliver of realism, too - a few serious lines, painfully true, about the state of the job market for young people.

But hey, let's focus on the positive message: even old fogeys can reinvent themselves. And perhaps even get a job at Google.

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