Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. 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. (from MovieWeb.com)
Sometimes comedy teams are no-brainers. In the past, comedians like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have paired up with other actors and comedians or they have carried films quite well on their own. At the same time, a director with a good sense of comedy will know how to get the best out of his cast. So when you take the talent behind the camera of movies like Date Night or the Night at the Museum movies--and a solid action film like Real Steel--and unite him with the comedy team of Vaughn and Wilson (The Wedding Crashers), it may seem like a win-win situation on paper. However, with a premise that drops a couple of 40-somethings into the battle for an internship program at mega-company Google, the result ends up being a bit mixed.
It may be tough to put a finger on one major problem with The Internship, but it's easy to pick out a short list of things that seem to not work quite right. It's one of those movies that is entertaining enough to be mildly satisfying, but you can't help feeling like it could have been a lot better. First of all, the screenplay, which Vince Vaughn wrote (and he serves as Producer on the movie as well) is relatively formulaic and predictable as Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are two underdogs who must compete to win a coveted spot on the payroll for Google. It's the kind of setup that goes by the numbers -- the odds are stacked against them from the beginning, no one wants anything to do with them, then they slowly start to win their teammates over, then mess things up for everyone, yet continue to persevere through the fight. You can pretty much figure out where things are going to go from the moment they land on Google's campus, but Vaughn and Wilson do their best to keep things entertaining and amusing through the process. The downside to that, however, is that you pretty much have to like Vaughn and Wilson's individual schtick in order to find the film funny. Some of the supporting cast do get some funny moments, but it's characters like Josh Brener's Lyle that only come across as painfully awkward and not particularly fun to watch.
The other problem is in the tone of the film. As the story finds the young Google interns on Billy and Nick's team starting to warm up to them, Billy kind of accidentally leads the group into a strip club. But with Billy's encouragement, he leads the team on a drunken, wild night of partying that forces the kids to loosen up, with one in particular compromising his upbringing by taking shots of liquor for the first time and receiving several lap dances. The scene comes a bit out of left field (and goes on for far, far too long) and it just doesn't quite fit in this particular movie. To make matters worse, if you choose to watch the Unrated cut on the Blu-Ray or DVD, this scene features heaps of alternate footage with topless dancers. The PG-13 cut itself still pushes the rating envelope with constant profanity, some crude jokes, and then this extended strip club scene (sans the topless nudity), but in all, it feels like Vaughn and Levy are undecided what kind of movie The Internship should be and it suffers from an identity crisis.
Painful lack of originality aside, Vaughn and Wilson are fun to watch if you're fans of their work. A bizarre and over-the-top cameo from Will Ferrell as a crude mattress salesman is a surprise to anyone not expecting it, and the ensemble cast clearly has fun together on screen. Some things do feel forced still, like the Wilson/Rose Byrne romance (although it does have some cute moments, particularly a scene while they're out to dinner together), and especially a highly unlikely romance between the geeky Lyle and a beautiful dance instructor named Marielena. Of course, there has to be a jerky, smart pretty boy named Graham to serve as a villain of sorts in the movie, but he only stinks up the scenes he appears in instead of posing as a worthy potential foil for our underdogs. It's possible that Levy's approach to the film as a more serious comedy, as opposed to an entirely off-the-wall screwball comedy like Vaughn's Dodgeball or Ferrell's Anchorman, takes some of the fun out of it. The movie spends most of its time trying to find the right tone and, in the end, just feels like a sampler of moments from similar kinds of movies that never quite work together very well. Still, far worse comedies have been made, and despite its flaws, you're more likely to find something to laugh at here than similar recent comedies--especially if you're a fan of anyone in the cast.
What I didn't expect from a movie like The Internship was how much Vaughn and Wilson stood out as fish out of water. While the promos and trailers and even the movie itself show The Internship as being a Vaughn/Wilson vehicle, the movie highlights the comedians as representing a bygone age of comedy. They seem so out of place in the movie that it's almost more sad than funny at times. The cast often wear this look of "these guys think they're so funny, but they're not" and the film doesn't balance that in a way that works to the actors' benefit. And the fact that both men play guys who are so clueless about anything web related at all may make anyone who's been following the careers of these guys feel older than they are (whether they're tech savvy or not). Still, this feeling doesn't quite happen enough to ruin the film completely, but this has more to do with Vince Vaughn's stronger presence while Owen Wilson sometimes looks like he's a bit lost on camera, wondering how exactly he got there.
The content for The Internship is pretty rough. The PG-13 version contains 1 "F" word (spoken by Wilson), roughly 30 uses of the "S" word, several uses of blasphemy, and a laundry list of other colorful words and phrases. The strip club scene, even without the unrated content, is risque and borderline raunchy, with Billy encouraging the kids to get drunk and get crazy. When the girl on their team expresses her timidness toward the strip club atmosphere, Billy and Nick encourage her to let loose and enjoy herself. We later see her dancing behind glass under a spray of water with another intern acting like he's lost his mind, dancing wildly. In the morning, Billy encourages another intern to admit it was the best night of his life. The "Unrated" version reportedly has a significant amount of additional profanity, including uses of the "F" word, while, as I mentioned earlier, the strip club scene includes alternate footage with lots of the girls in the club being completely topless (and the nudity being very visible). Again, it seems completely out of place for this movie and I'm kind of surprised Levy chose this direction for The Internship.
The Internship is a movie that probably sounded like a great idea in concept but it doesn't quite add up to be more than a mildly entertaining, and unnecessarily crude, modern comedy. It's got its moments, and there are much worse comedies out there, but given the talent involved and a premise that could have really delivered if handled better, The Internship doesn't quite make the grade.- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 10/23/13)
Deleted Scenes (8:26) - There are 8 deleted scenes with a "play all" option. The first scene, "Foreclosure," shows Billy's house being foreclosed (1 "h*ll," 1 "S" word). It's actually a great exchange between comedic actor Tom Lennon and Vince Vaughn. "A Bad Day Gets Worse" takes place right after this altercation and his conversation with his girlfriend. He gets maced by the foreclosure guy and stumbles into the street, blinded... and is hit by a car (1 "S" word, 1 S.O.B., 1 "pr*ck," 2 "oh G-d"). "Talk Show Walk and Talk" is Billy and Nick riffing about how they feel like they're on a weight loss reality show. "Tech Stop" has Nick bringing his personal, ancient, laptop to the tech counter. The tech guys marvel at how bad the laptop is (1 "S" word, and Nick mentions he has videos with "lady friend" that are "consensual, tasteful"). "Missy Franklin" has a soaked Nick and Billy bumping into swimmer Missy Franklin. "Billy and Nick on Catwalk" shows Nick and Billy walking and talking about Nick's date coming up. "Nick Calls Stuart" is a throwaway scene where he does just that (1 "S" word, 1 "h*ll"). "Cosplay" is a semi-cute scene where we see Billy dressed as Han Solo and Nick dressed as Luke. Kevin then shows up in a Boba Fett costume. Unfortunately, Will Ferrell uses the "F" word in a sexual fashion here (1 "F" word, 2 "S" words, 1 "h*ll"). Overall, there's a couple good scenes here, mainly the foreclosure ones, but also several throwaway ones.
Any Given Monday (17:52) - This featurette focuses on the game Quidditch, which only really existed in lore before this movie. So here they show how they practiced it and planned it out before filming it. We then see some actual filming and alternate takes; it's pretty neat to see some of the filming process here. After multiple takes to get some shots, we're taken to the editing room six months later, and we hear from director Shawn Levy talk about the evolution of the scene and editing it for the final film. (1 "d*mn", 1 "h*ll," 2 "S" words)- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 10/23/13)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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