Director: Shawn Levy; Screenwriters: Vince Vaughn, Jared Stern; Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Max Minghella, Jessica Szohr, Josh Gad; Running time: 119 mins; Certificate: 12A
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn enjoyed a great Hollywood 'bromance' in Wedding Crashers, but eight years later, they may start to feel an itch. Even diehard fans will likely squirm in their seats watching their new comedy, The Internship, in which the inseparable pals are all about caring and sharing and building a brighter future together at Google.
Evidently, the Google ethos (or what is nauseatingly referred to as "Googliness") is about achieving global harmony by connecting people via the worldwide web. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) embrace that spirit of togetherness, beginning at the interview – which they attend, as one – and then on campus where they share a bed, Morecambe & Wise style.
Bear in mind, Billy and Nick are supposed to be the cool guys among the horde of bespectacled geeks who are competing with them for full-time jobs. But their total gushing acceptance of the cuddly corporate philosophy, their starry-eyed talk of "chasing a dream" and their view of Camp Google as some sort of Technicolor Garden of Eden makes them look like chumps.
The plot is equally predictable. It's as if Google devised a programme to churn out an average Hollywood comedy and offered it to director Shawn Levy (and Vaughn, as co-writer) with a proviso that they make the company look good. It's a monotonous affair where teams of interns undergo a series of challenges, including a long drawn-out game of Quidditch.
If you're looking for logic, it appears to be that clever kids in glasses love Harry Potter. And if you're looking for laughs, you're out of luck. The challenges are silly without being funny. Applicants also attend classes on HTML coding which turn out to be the most interesting scenes in the film. (Oddly, the specifics of navigating tax loopholes are not part of the curriculum.)
Wilson often gets away with coasting through a film on natural charm. Similarly, Vaughn can wisecrack his way out of many a tight spot. Indeed, these are the qualities they hope will rub off on their younger counterparts. But the goody two shoes don't fit and that perpetual smirk on Wilson's face may actually be a grimace from the pain of being squeezed.
He looks more relaxed in scenes with Rose Byrne, but that may be because her high-achieving Google exec is wound so tightly, he benefits by the contrast. It's a thankless role for Byrne, especially because the romance seems like an afterthought, tacked on in case the techno theme and laddish image of the stars deters moviegoers on date night.
Every angle has been covered, leaving no edge to this comedy at all. Every joke has been tried, tested and played out so that, despite the modern environment, it feels dismally old school. Wilson and Vaughn joke about being "dinosaurs", but behind the scenes, a lack of ambition could see life imitating art. They need to search their souls, and Google can't help with that.