Before I jump into the actual review of this movie, I’d like to give one piece of advice to my readers; If you are a business major, DO NOT see this movie. Why? Because no matter how funny the movie can get, it never lets you stop thinking “Wait a minute, this is completely and totally ridiculous”. Then again, it probably doesn’t take a business student to realize that the chances of two middle aged, tech-tarded salesmen getting accepted for a internship at one of the most exclusive employers in the western world are essentially zero. I could go on and on about the individual elements of how ridiculous the premise for the movie is, but I won’t bore you with the details (even though it’s those details that stand between a job and unemployment in a world where 25% of college graduates can’t find a job after graduation). Unrealistic set-up aside, for every scene in The Internship that works, there are two more that really don’t and the uneven result will make it difficult to many viewers to rise above the level of mild enjoyment.
The Plot: 3/10
Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.
I’ve already mentioned my issues with the set-up of the film, which make up about 90% of the issues I had with the plot. The other 10% will likely bother other moviegoers more than it bothers me; predictability. When it comes to comedy, I’ve pretty much learned to lower my expectations when it comes to innovative story lines and unexpected plot developments. The purpose of a comedy is to make you laugh, and all other elements like plot and character development can be ignored if that central purpose is being achieved. Still though, I couldn’t help but feel like the writers could have been a little more ambitious with the story than they are here. The story follows exactly the same lines as basically any other competition-based movie you’ve seen in the last decade, so don’t walk into the theater expecting anything new or different.
The Writing: 7/10
When it comes to characterization, the movie is just plain lazy. In the cliche department, we have the sheltered Asian, the Douchey villain with a British accent, the stern, tough-loving boss, and more. I’ll at least admit that the similarities between Vaughn and Wilson’s characters here and in The Wedding Crashers make sense with regards to the ingenuous occupation they both hold (sorry salesmen, I’m not shedding any tears about your replacement by Amazon.com). Still, that doesn’t mean that their character development during the course of the movie had to be as uninspired as it is here. We get it, Nick’s trying to find the right girl and Billy’s trying to to prove that he’s not a screw up, it’s not like we’ve seen either of those things a million times before…
With those issues in mind, you might wonder why my score is so high for this section. To that, I’d answer that the reason most of the comedy works in the first place is not because of Vaughn or Wilson, or any of the supporting characters that surround them. The reason it works is because the writing does a great job when handling character interactions, especially when it comes to the weird guy/normal guy dynamics that spring up between various characters. Everyone on screen is full of some form of bullshit, and it’s pretty fun to watch them get called out on it.
The Acting: 6/10
As you’d expect, the biggest factor in whether or not you will enjoy this movie is whether or not you like Owen Wilson and/or Vince Vaughn. Both are basically playing the same character they’ve played in many other movies already, which means that whether you like them or not, you probably won’t be surprised. Personally, I like Owen Wilson’s dry sense of humor more than Vaughn’s lovable jerk, but you may be different. Honestly they both start out as pretty annoying, especially when first working with their team of fellow interns, but become much more bearable when they finally start getting their shit together and contributing.
As for the rest of the team, there aren’t a huge amount of standouts in either a good or a bad way. The rest of Nick and Billy’s team are pretty fun to watch at times, and from time to time they really do feel like they could be actual people (which is even stranger when you set them next to two grown men who wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of landing the position they’re in). As a big Daily Show fan I like seeing Aasif Mandvi in anything that doesn’t involve M. Night Shyamalan, and I thought that he did a great job of making his two dimensional character at least somewhat interesting. Finally, I’ve have a pretty sizable Hollywood crush on Rose Byrne since I got sucked into Damages a few years ago, and as a result I was very happy that she landed the “love interest” role here (even if her character would know better than dating an intern were this taking place in anything but a fantasy world).
The Comedy: 7/10
If there’s any major fault I’d point out with the comedy in the film, it’s that it often relies too heavily on Wilson and Vaughn’s shtick. Their little “think outside the box” routine quickly becomes more annoying than funny, to the point where it’s understandable that their teammates would want to send them on a wild Xavier chase (speaking of which, the X-Men movies have been around for over a decade, how are we to expect that these two non-hermit individuals could have gone this long without knowing who Professor X is?). Beyond that, the humor is pretty evenly split between drunken antics and more appropriate geeky references, the latter of which really pushed me over the recommendation barrier. I know, I’m easily influenced by my nerdy tendencies, but how can you not doff your cap to a movie that correctly uses “My Khaleesi” and “My Sun and Stars” as romantic pet names?
The Verdict: 6.0/10 – Passable
+ Vaughn and Wilson still have chemistry, whether you like it or not is your business
+ The writing has plenty of clever moments that contribute to most of the real comedy
- The premise is so ridiculous that it nearly derails the entire thing
- The characters are pretty stereotypical and the plot is even more cliche than usual
Rotten Tomatoes: 32 %
The Code is Zeek: 2.5/5
Average: 5.4/10 – Nothing Special