Lewd Humor Tarnishes The Internship's Underdog Story
- Thursday, June 06, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: June 6, 2013
Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language
Run Time: 119 minutes
Director: Shawn Levy
Actors: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, John Goodman, Aasif Mandvi, Jessica Szohr, Rose Byrne, Josh Brener, Josh Gad
As millions of unemployed Americans can tell you, finding a new job is tough. So when the sales team of Billy (Vince Vaughn, The Watch) and Nick (Owen Wilson, Marley & Me) find their product line—and themselves—suddenly obsolete, they’re willing to try anything... even if "anything" means fast-talking their way into an internship at Google. Never mind that the position is only open to college students (hello, University of Phoenix!). Never mind that these two can barely use Google, much less understand how to code it. Never mind that they’re twice the age of the other interns. Our hapless heroes have heart, darn it, and they’re not giving up on their dream.
If you can tear your eyes away from the supercool geek paradise that is the Google campus long enough to ponder the plot for a moment you’ll realize you’ve seen this story before, more than twice. It’s the standard 'lovable misfits band together to take on privileged bully' device. In fact, if you substitute techno wizardry for the more magical kind, it’s basically Harry Potter all over again. There’s even a Quidditch match!
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Whether this is a "good" underdog story is open to question, but I’ve certainly seen worse. In their first onscreen collaboration since Wedding Crashers, Vaugn and Wilson show they still have comedic chemistry. As a man who always aims for the stars—and invariably shoots himself in the foot—Vaugn’s Billy is the biggest underdog of the pack. Owen’s Nick is more the lovable mutt that follows you home. They’re salesmen, but not the sleazy, dishonest kind. Our heroes may bumble but they’re not idiots, just remnants of the pre-computer age. They’re kindhearted guys whose moral code is based more on Flashdance than Scripture, but they’re savvy enough to value people more than technology. Some of Billy’s pep talks may be silly, but they're often oddly inspiring. Even when you see it coming from the get-go, there is something satisfying about watching a bully receive a well-deserved comeuppance.
Those are the positives. The negatives? Well, in many ways The Internship is a two-hour-long commercial for Google where you pay for the privilege of watching. There is considerable sexual "humor" and other inappropriate topics played for laughs (since when are physical abuse and self-mutilation funny?). Most, if not all, of the characters are stereotypes: overachieving Asian students pushed by tyrannical parents; work-obsessed female executives who sacrifice marriage and family on the altar of career success; geeky prodigies who can’t speak normal-people English; bullies; the person so focused on their phone and virtual "life" they miss the real life taking place just inches from their nose. And, of course, clueless adults who can’t comprehend technology.
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