Vince Vaughn (also the film’s co-writer) and Owen Wilson star in this comedy about two unemployed men in their 40s whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Out to prove they aren’t obsolete, they take up an internship at Google along with a battalion of brilliant college students.
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Internship is great for employers, requiring people to give up their time with not much in the way of reward – which makes it not only this film’s subject matter but also an apt description of the mediocrity on offer. Despite appearing nothing more than a rote, predictable comedy that traded on the likeability of leads Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn (also the film’s screenwriter), The Internship still manages to disappoint as the pair sleepwalk through the film, seemingly unaware of how abjectly unfunny it is.
While there’s no need to be ashamed about the broad, mainstream appeal The Internship is gunning for, Vaughn deserves to feel that way about writing and appearing in several deeply embarrassing scenes that resoundingly fail to wring any humour out of the concept of 40-something men who don’t understand consumer-level technology. Early in the film the lads fail to appreciate the workings of video chat – precious little laughter ensues; later, minutes pass while Vaughn repeatedly can’t appreciate the difference between “online” and “on the line”. It’s awkward.
While the onscreen duo may coast much of the way through their Google internship on charm alone, this won’t wash for moviegoers. With too few gags, too lazy characterisation and too little narrative to invest in you’re likely to find yourself increasingly distracted by the insane prominence of Google throughout. Product placement hasn’t been taken to another level but a hitherto unknown dimension here, and as with Wilson and Vaughn the familiar, warm fuzzy presence of Google is supposed to make it all OK. It doesn’t.