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Overall Rating
2.2

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 6.67%
Average46.67%
Pretty Bad: 6.67%
Total Crap: 40%

2 reviews, 3 user ratings


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Internship, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"System Crashers"
1 stars

"The Internship" is a film that takes one of the most questionable comedic conceits of our time--that there is nothing funnier in the world than the sight of Vince Vaughn riffing and scatting all over the screenplay with allegedly hilarious bits of comedic improv while the other actors patiently wait for him to pause for a breath so that they can chime in with a line or two--mixes in an endless string of random pop-culture references and tops the whole thing off with a bit of product placement so in-your-face that it makes "Cast Away" seem like "Repo Man" by comparison. Of course, some of this could have been forgiven or at least overlooked if the filmmakers had bothered to work some actual laughs into the equation as well but no such luck. The result is an obnoxious and largely grating misfire that goes on for far too long while offering viewers far too few successful punchlines to sustain them along the way. It may not be the weakest and least amusing yukfest of the summer season to date but that is only because "The Hangover Part III," despite all appearances to the contrary, is still technically considered to be a comedy in the eyes of some. That said, I promise you that you will get more laughs this weekend from "The Purge" than you will from this one and "The Purge" isn't even trying to be funny in the first place.

Vaughn and Owen Wilson star as Billy and Nick, a couple of amiable oafs whose live are thrown upside-down when the wristwatch company that they work for as salesmen unexpectedly goes out of business on the basis that people no longer wear watches anymore. (Of course, virtually every film critic that I know sports a Timex Indiglo on their wrists, if only so that they can unobtrusively check from time to time to see how much longer a ponderously long and unfunny comedy has left to run.) Thrust out into a job market that they barely recognize and where their particular skills are no longer considered, the two are at a loss as to what to do and Nick is even reduced to selling mattresses for his sister's sleazo boyfriend (cue the inevitable Will Ferrell cameo). Billy eventually hits upon a genius idea--they will go to work for benevolent technological giant Google. Two minor flaws--neither of them have even the slightest experience in the tech sector (though I suspect Billy has used the search engine to scout out some of the more depressing free porn sites out there) and Google isn't actually hiring.

However, Google does have a summer internship program in which hundreds of hot-shot college kids are brought in and divided into teams for a series of competitions with the coveted job slots going to the members of the winning team. For reasons that strain all notions of credulity, Billy and Nick are accepted into the program and arrive at Google--depicted here as a bucolic paradise of free food, driverless cars and nap pods--only to discover that they are in way over their heads. Cast into the inevitable group of misfits--a cynic who can barely look up from his phone, a guy who has been nearly driven to a nervous breakdown with his mother's pressures to succeed, a brilliant babe with a thing for kinky cosplay and a nerdy team leader (Josh Brenner) who almost seems younger than his charges--Billy and Nick try to lend a hand to the challenges but their lack of know-how leads to disaster. (At one point, their co-workers get rid of them for a few hours by sending them to Stanford to look for a wheelchair-bound professor by the name of Charles Xavier, hee-hee.) Inevitably, the guys somehow manage to bring their group together--following an all-night bonding binge at the local strip joint--and they get themselves back into the competition, much to the chagrin of the smarmy Graham (Max Minghella), a creepy competitor who would no doubt be sporting and twirling a handlebar mustache in every scene if he actually had the ability to manufacture facial hair in the first place.

Vaughn and Wilson, you will recall, starred in the 2005 blockbuster "Wedding Crashers," a film that many of you liked but which I found to largely be a tedious bore in which the two stars--though mostly Vaughn--were allowed to drag the proceedings out to ridiculous lengths with long and undisciplined improvisatory jags that were never close to be as hilarious as they clearly felt them to be. That said, "Wedding Crashers" did have a few things going for it--a cheerfully raunchy spirit, a very funny performance by Isla Fisher that was a rare opportunity for a female to make an impact in a filmmaking style generally dominated by men. If nothing else, it was at the very least an improvement on such subsequent unspeakably awful Vaughn vehicles as "Four Christmases," "The Break-Up," "Couples Retreat" and others that I have presumably blotted from my memory.

The same cannot be said for "The Internship," however. Oh sure, the endless Vaughn improvs are still there and still as unappealing as ever thanks to his usual graceless, motor-mouth delivery that makes him come across like a third-rate student in a second-rate acting class, presumably one taught via correspondence. However, the raunch has been almost entirely eliminated, no doubt in an effort to secure a more commercially viable PG-13 rating, and has been replaced by scenes of awkward sentiment in which Vaughn and Wilson offer sincere encouragement to their younger colleagues (which actually inspire the biggest laughs, albeit of the unintentional variety) and endless pop-culture references tossed out for easy yuks with "Flashdance" receiving far more shout-outs than it really deserves. (However, with all the movie-related comments our heroes keep spouting off at the drop of a hat, it seems odd that the name "Professor Charles Xavier" didn't ring any bells).

As for the only three female characters,one,the babe team member whose erotic imagination exceeds her grasp, as it were, has her big moment dancing in a shower on stage at the aforementioned strip club while another (Jessica Szohr) is a dance instructor at the school who turns out to be a stripper on the side and spends all of her big scene in her underwear. Finally, Rose Byrne turns up as a Google trainer who follows the "Top Gun" method of teaching by bantering with underling Wilson before going to bed with him. Oh well, at least there are women in the movie, which is more than you can say about African-Americans. We keep hearing about how inclusive the school is and while Asians, Hispanics and Indians are accounted for, the campus is, with one exception, so devoid of blacks that it feels as if The Purge took place on campus just before the story began.

From a comedic perspective, however, the biggest disappointment about "The Internship" is in the way that it handles the whole concept of working at Google. I have heard that the company did not pay anything to be included in the movie but they clearly must have had some kind of approval agreement with the producers before allowing them to use their name and to replicate their facilities. As a result, the film comes across as the most in-your-face display of product placement in cinema history (even making the likes of "Mac & Me" and "Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man" seem subtle by comparison) as Google headquarters is presented as a combination of Disneyworld and Best Buy that makes Shangri-La look like whatever burnt-out hovel holds the unhappy few that are still enslaved by Alta Vista. Maybe it is just me but wouldn't it have been funnier if, instead of using the actual Google and being hemmed in by the necessity to play nice, the film invented its own Google-like business that played upon our wildest fantasies of what goes on behind the walls of such a place? Sure, the film wouldn't have gotten as much free stuff but the screenplay might have had a little more snap to it that might have helped make the premise work.

Alas, Vaughn, co-writer Jared Stern and director Shawn Levy clearly had more interest in swag than snap and as a result, "The Internship" is a painful and painfully overlong drag in which the jokes aren't funny, the banter between the two stars is as forced as can be and the whole thing becomes as irritating as a string of pop-up ads. This has not really been a very good year for comedies so far (though I promise that things will pick up somewhat in that regard next week) but even though this is,as I said, slightly better than the completely worthless "The Hangover Part III," that doesn't mean it is worth wasting your hard-earned money on when there are other and better movies now playing that are far more deserving. You don't believe me? Look it up online for yourself. May I suggest using Ask Jeeves?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=23807&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/07/13 06:01:17
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User Comments

7/11/13 Charles Kill Seems like they made Wedding Crashers, except with less plot, talent, money, humor. 3 stars
6/11/13 Louis Blyskal Good movie 4 stars
6/08/13 PAUL SHORTT FORMULAIC AND OVERLONG 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Jun-2013 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Oct-2013

UK
  04-Jul-2013 (12A)

Australia
  13-Jun-2013
  DVD: 22-Oct-2013


Directed by
  Shawn Levy

Written by
  Vince Vaughn

Cast
  Vince Vaughn
  Owen Wilson
  Rose Byrne
  John Goodman
  Joanna Garcia
  Josh Gad



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