Wedding Crashers stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn have proven themselves to be a hilarious comedy duo, which is why I was so thrilled to see them team up for The Internship and ultimately why I was so disappointed by the half-baked film. The two men star as Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), salesmen who lose their jobs when their company folds. Now unemployed, they're pretty depressed to find that their skill set won't get them far in today's job market. While searching for jobs (via Google!), a light bulb goes off for Billy: why don't they apply at Google? That makes sense, right? (No.) Through the mercy of the admissions committee, Billy and Nick are granted access to Google's internship program, at the end of which they'll have a slim chance of scoring a full-time gig. The premise itself is ludicrous, but it could be forgiven if the film was well executed, which it isn't.
Once at Google, the formulaic plot is quickly laid out: sore thumbs Billy and Nick are swiftly placed in a team of misfits that include a too-cool-for-school guy (Teen Wolf heartthrob Dylan O'Brien); a smart, outgoing fashionista (Tiya Sircar); and an introvert who's afraid of his own shadow (Tobit Raphael). The tropes keeps coming as Max Minghella steps in to play the resident competitive jerk, Graham, and Rose Bryne turns up as a Google executive, a bland love interest for Nick. Not all of the characters are overplayed (especially Minghella's cocky Graham, who I can't get enough of), but the clichés are annoying, mostly because the characters and stories are underdeveloped. One thing that's definitely not underplayed? Google's presence in the film. Find out more about it when you read more.
At first it's fun to check out the Google campus, with its bizarrely unmanned cars, creative building designs, and napping pods. The company is notoriously generous to its employees, and no matter how good you have it at your own job, you'll be hard pressed not to be envious of Google's free-food policy and advanced gadgetry. The excitement soon wears off as the movie begins to feel like a giant advertisement for the company that happens to star Vaughn and Wilson. It's a given that The Internship would focus on Google's cool benefits, but after so many references highlighting the company's features, I was wondering if Google shouldn't just be streaming this movie for free.
But what about The Internship's stars? Is their onscreen chemistry enough to keep the film afloat? Not really. Initially, it filled me with warm and fuzzy feelings to see them bantering together, but this time the jokes are too thin. Like many of Vaughn's previous characters, Billy has a penchant for running his mouth and using long, illustrative metaphors, but he goes way overboard here, and rather than being funny, he's just filling time.
It's a bummer that Vaughn cowrote the script, because I wish I could blame a third party for the underwhelming material. As it is, the movie feels rushed and dependent on the stars to bring in an audience. It's a shame, because with more emphasis on the characters, better jokes, and less focus on Google, The Internship might have been a good movie.