The last time Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson appeared in a movie together was in 2005, during the peak of their powers. Co-starring in a little movie called “Wedding Crashers,” the pair bounced zingers back and forth, using their improv skills to create one of the most surprisingly funny movies in years. Back then, Vaughn’s shtick was endlessly entertaining. Eight years and several duds like “Fred Claus” later, Vaughn has become more grating than anything else. With “The Internship,” the long awaited re-teaming of the comedy duo is at long last here. But does it rekindle the funny for Vaughn?
Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, two watch salesmen who suddenly find themselves out of a job, thanks to cell phones diminishing their market. Neither of them have any real computer skills, leaving the pair to struggle to make ends meet. Nick is left to sell mattresses for his sister’s sleazy boyfriend, played by Will Ferrell in a surprisingly unfunny cameo. Billy comes upon the idea to apply for internships at Google, and even though neither has any experience in the tech field, they’re both offered the chance to become Google interns.
The rest of the plot plays out like a comedy made back in 1983. Vaughn and Wilson are both a good twenty years older than the other interns and possess a tenth of their tech knowledge, so when the interns are split into teams of course their team is resentful of having to carry the two on their shoulders. But, like every other fish-out-of-water comedy, their age and life experience help teach the young twenty-somethings a thing or two, and after a night of drinking they’re all very buddy-buddy. Not to mention the two computer illiterate men somehow become coding aces over the course of the internship, but the lack of reality in movies can be a convenient device.
The main team standing in their way of winning a job with Google is led by Graham (Max Minghella), who is so snide and arrogant half of the things he does would get him booted from the intern program, had it not been dictated by the script he remain until the bitter end.
It should come as no surprise “The Internship” is a safe, watered-down comedy that refuses to let Vaughn and Wilson out of their cage, reigning in their banter for the PG-13 crowd. Then again, considering the film comes from Shawn Levy, the director of “Night at the Museum,” “Cheaper by the Dozen” and the horrid “Pink Panther” remake, it should come as no surprise that “The Internship” is another in a long line of projects from the director that have squandered A-list talent.
“The Internship” is as much an ad for Google than it is a bland comedy. With the company’s driver-less cars, slides, pods where you can nap, free food and anything else the heart desires, Google looks like the kind of workplace you never want to leave. If only the same could be said about “The Internship.”