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The Internship - Review

The Internship

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

ON THE one hand, it’s good to see Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn back together again maintaining the same smooth-talking chemistry that they exhibited in 2005’s Wedding Crashers. On the other, there’s simply no getting away from the fact that The Internship is a blatant advert for search engine giant Google.

It may have been easier to overlook that second point had the film not suffered from countless other problems too. But while Shawn Levy’s film isn’t without moments to savour, it’s also a bloated and wholly generic offering that eventually feels a little too pleased with itself and self-indulgent.

The premise has some merit. When old school salesmen Billy McMahon (Vaughn) and Nick Campbell (Wilson) lose their jobs, they decide to apply to Google as interns and quickly find themselves placed in a team of no-hoper nerds pitted against some super-savvy tech experts vying for the one internship place on offer.

En route to proving they’re no dinosaurs and that there’s room for people skills in the contemporary market-place, McMahon gets to grow up and take some responsibility for his life while Campbell gets a shot at romance with a prospective co-worker (Rose Byrne) who has started to realise she’s become too career-fixated.

Their fellow team members, meanwhile, are a largely stereotypical bunch awaiting coming-of-age lessons concerning independence, sexuality and coping with being an outsider.

That The Internship succeeds at all is largely down to the camaraderie that clearly exists between leading duo Vaughn and Wilson, whose ability to deliver engaging one-liners or funny put-downs hasn’t diminished over the years.

Wilson also gets to share some nice chemistry with Byrne, culminating in a smart and subversive first date sequence in which the former gets to behave like a jerk deliberately.

Alas, if only the screenplay, co-written by Vaughn and Jared Stern, had shown a few more subversive tendencies. In most other respects, this is a straight-forward mainstream offering that pretty much does everything you could anticipate.

The frequent nods to the brilliance of Google eventually become grating (and warrant closer scrutiny given recent headlines surrounding the company and its UK tax policy and mapping), while the generic plotting of the younger characters feels lazy and contrived, right down to the obligatory British villain (Max Minghella) who lacks any kind of shading.

Vaughn, too, could have benefitted from a little self-editing as some of his rants and jokes have a tendency to be over-milked, as has been the problem with a lot of his recent material. For while there are good points and some astute social commentary being made, several other jokes feel laboured.

Hence, while The Internship is easy enough to watch, it’s less easy to forgive a lot of its lazier elements – and the shameless product placement is eventually just plain shameful.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 119mins
UK Release Date: July 3, 2013