Perhaps in a bid to prove that monolithic digital corporations have a sense of humour after all (as well as not being evil), Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn team up for the first time since their hugely enjoyable romp in The Wedding Crashers for this comedy about two aging eejits thrown into the deep end at Google’s fabled San Francisco HQ.
Salesmen, Billy and Nick, are laid off from work for not being up to date with the digital age. On the hunt for new opportunities, and to prove that they’re not dinosaurs, the pair decide to apply for a highly-coveted internship at Google. However, a whole battalion of bright, young, tech-savvy college students are also competing for the slot.
But gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation’s most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.
Here, they must take part in a mental version of the Hunger Games to land a job after a trial period that makes The Krypton Factor and Only Connect look like Family Fortunes. Naturally, they end up on a dweeb team which includes an emotionally-crippled guy, a Korean kid who is terrorised by his mother, a team leader who compensates for his lack of cool by communicating in agonising hip speak, and a sexy geek girl who is actually all innocent under her talk of kinky Star Wars roleplay parties.
What follows is a comedy of error 404’s as our interns wear silly hats and get to be called Noogles, a form of psychological hazing in the antiseptic brains trust that is Google. They also take part in a series of tests including writing reams of computer code and taking part in, god help us, a Quidditch match. Not quite the knockabout fun of Vaughn’s turn in Dodgeball.
Add in a hard-as-string-theory boss, a workaholic babe played by a dull Rose Byrne, and a rival team of bullies led by Anthony Minghella’s son Max, and it really does look like the script was uploaded by committee using Google Chrome and the latest algorithm.
Directed by Shawn Levy, the man behind Night at The Museum and Date Night, the initial dopey humour is soon blotted out with a flurry of right clicks to the heart. It does make some nice points about the tyranny of online life but in the end, The Internship seems overly awed by the almighty G.
Wilson and Vaughn are a likeable pairing and there are a few goofy laughs but if you think the web giant already has a creepy omnipotence, this won’t change your mind; it’s a two-hour ad for Google. Worse, it’s a two-hour ad for Google doing Glee with some Big Bang Theory protons crow-barred in.
The Internship weighs down Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s comic charisma with a formulaic script and padded running time that leans heavily on its stars’ easygoing interplay.
The Internship is out 3rd July 2013. I watched it as part of a Cineworld Unlimited screening.
By Ruth Walker