Besides being a two-hour infomercial for Google, "The Internship" is an unending collection of greeting-card sentiments about true happiness and a watered-down meditation on the generational schism in a modern economy.
But it also wears an old-school charm that makes the syrupy message easier to digest. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, reuniting for the first time since "Wedding Crashers," have clear chemistry, even if playing more family friendly versions of those characters.
No matter how palpable their likability, though, it's wasted in this shallow fairy tale. To work at Google, director Shawn Levy would lead you to believe you just have to know how to enjoy life and work as a team -- all that technical wizardry be damned.
Where do I send my application?
|» Rating: 2 out of 4 stars|
|» Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi and Max Minghella|
|» Director: Shawn Levy|
|» Rated: PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language.|
|» Running time: 119 minutes|
Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are out-of-work watch salesmen, victims of an era where people just need a cellphone to tell time. Billy hatches a foolproof scheme to land a job -- make that an internship -- at Google. They enroll in online college courses, checking off the student requirement, and ace a job interview with an unconventional metaphor for perseverance. Not surprisingly, the older duo is mocked on the Google campus, and they're the last picks in a weeklong gauntlet of challenges to crown the next batch of employees at the tech giant. Their "Flashdance" references don't fly in a "Harry Potter" world. But not to worry: What the oddballs lack in computer prowess, they make up for in life experience.
When things go wrong, it's nothing a quick jaunt to a strip club (by far, the most effective comedic set piece of the movie) or a scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge can't solve. Max Minghella plays the entitled yuppie and villain to our everyday men. And Owen Wilson teaches Rose Byrne that life isn't all about climbing the corporate ladder.
The whole experience feels incredibly safe, and the comedy is confined by the continual attempt to toe the line between raunchy gags and a more profitable PG-13 rating. As the film's co-writer, Vaughn is to blame for his own predicament. The film's unabashed optimism is endearing but fleeting, especially when used to shill for a corporation that already has a gargantuan marketing budget.