“The Internship,” the story of two old guys who try to get jobs at Google, is the funniest infomercial I’ve ever seen. As a comedy movie it doesn’t rate that high, but as an advertisement for Google it’s a knee slapper.
I’ve seen product placement in movies before, but this is something else. By the time Rose Byrnes’ character says, “I believe what we do here makes people’s lives better,” I was ready to worship at the Church of the Sacred Search Engine.
We also learn that Google is ranked as the best place to work in America.
That’s all great, but I was hoping for more laughs with my infomercial.
This new buddy comedy pairs Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn for the first time since 2005’s “Wedding Crashers.” They are Nick and Billy, two wild and crazy guys whose sales jobs are made obsolete in the technological age. Unable to get a foothold in the new media field they crash Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters and become “noogles” in hopes of landing gigs as interns, despite having no experience with computers. “We’re looking at some sort of mental Hunger Games against a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs,” says Nick.
There are some laughs in “The Internship.” Unfortunately very few of them are generated by the over-the-title-stars, Vaughn and Wilson. The chemistry that made “Wedding Crashers” such a big hit eight years ago is still in place, but the material isn’t. They still banter a blue streak—one of the characters says, “you’re saying a lot of words that mean nothing,” and she hits it right on the head—but it feels tired and old, like many of the jokes.
The fish-out-of-water idea—two luddites at a tech mecca—should have been workable, but it often feels like laughing at grandpa because he can’t figure out how to work the remote. It’s a bit too easy.
Add to that Nick and Billy—or Nick, Nicky, Nickelodeon and Bill, Willie, Billiard as those crazy kids slangily call one another—being heroes for teaching the overachieving kids about life by getting them drunk and taking them to a strip club, and you have a “Revenge of the Nerds” with a dollop of “Jersey Shore” thrown in—and the two mix about as well as you might imagine.
The situations, while predictable and often stretched a bit thin, do allow several of the other cast members to shine. As Yoyo, the anxious overachiever Tobit Raphael earns a few laughs and as the nerdy NehaTiya Sircargets a couple of good lines in, as do others, but overall it isn’t a laugh riot.
“The Internship” overdoes it with the Googliness and easy sentiment, and underdoes it with the jokes. Perhaps next time the screenwriterscan Google some better gags.