Director: Shawn Levy Writers: Jared Stern, Vince Vaughn Studios: 20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises, Wild West Picture Show Productions, 21 Laps Entertainment, Dune Entertainment Cast: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella Release Date (UK): 4 July 2013 Certificate: 12A Runtime: 119 min
The glorified 120-minute Google ad “The Internship” might just be the most obscene piece of movie product placement since Ronald McDonald and a bunch of kids spontaneously danced their way through a McDonald’s restaurant in “Mac and Me” in 1988. A studio buddy comedy, it stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, a pair of recently out-of-work fortysomething watch salesmen who — get this, right — apply for an internship at Google. Vaughn and Wilson are good together, their comic chemistry strong, but viewers expecting another “The Wedding Crashers” will instead be greeted with the much less fun and much more cynical “The Google Pluggers.”
It’s telling that they play salesmen. All throughout the movie, Google products are name-dropped with stupefying regularity: those being Google Search, GMail, Google Maps, etc. Once accepted, Billy and Nick must complete a series of Google-centric challenges if they are to win a coveted position in the company: creating a Google app, for one, and convincing a local business to join Google’s amazing advertising system. Meanwhile, Google Headquarters, which looks to be the meeting point between a workplace and a children’s playground, is repeatedly praised as “the greatest place to work in America,” probably because it has a slide in its lobby. Vaughn (also a co-writer and producer) has essentially made a career out of being the salesman (as he was in “Couples Retreat” and “The Dilemma”), but never before has this been so blatant or shameless.
Good support comes from Aasif Mandvi, playing the whip-cracking head of the intern program, and the always splendid Rose Byrne in an otherwise thankless role as Wilson’s love interest. The central gag — two dinosaurs surrounded by tech-savvy geeks in one of the world’s biggest tech companies — gets stale somewhere around the halfway point, while messages about overcoming your limitations and fulfilling your dreams drown in the sea of Google signs and Google products. I’d complain about the whole thing being 30 minutes too long, but given the film’s true intentions this really shouldn’t have lasted longer than 30 seconds.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%
Metacritic Score: 42/100
IMDb Rating: 6.5/10