The Internship (Blu-ray)
20th Century Fox / 2013 / 120 mins / PG-13
Just when I thought the movie Identity Theft presented the most unstable premise for a movie this year, The Internship seems to be challenging that title. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play two recently fired salesmen who have few skills and are looking for a job. While searching for a job on the internet, Vaughn's character comes up with the great idea to work for Google. Do they have the education for such a position? No, but they do have heart and personality. And, believe it or not, that's what carries them through to an internship at Google. Leave your brain at the door for this one.
Even though the topic of older people trying break into the technology industry is a real and interesting topic, it is only used here for the purposes of replaying the typical underdog story. The unemployed salesmen apply to the Google internship program filled with college kids. They manage to make it into the program due to some strange diversity concept and a democratic vote. Also, they fake being college students by applying to the University of Phoenix which only goes as far as making a few college jokes. It seems like that would be an entire movie in itself.
The Google summer internship divides the interns into groups and assigns them challenges. Much like those reality competition shows, whoever wins the most challenges receives full-time positions at Google. Being the two outcast old dudes, they end up paired with the last few of the awkward college kids. The kids are heavily stressed out about succeeding in the tech world, but Vaughn and Wilson are determined to make this team work even with their complete lack of web development skills.
Yep, it's your standard cool kids help the geeks have fun and win the competition story, complete with a snobby nemesis constantly urging them to give up. And how exactly do the two salesmen help them unwind? They end up taking them to a strip club in which all the kids, including the awkward female of the group, all come out of their shells for having the best night of their lives. As if that weren't hard enough to believe, Vaughn and Owen are somehow able to catch up and learn everything you'd need to know about web development for a Google internship over the course of A FEW WEEKS! Here are a bunch of kids who have spent most of their lives devoted to being code masters and these two salesmen somehow pick it up in 1/8th the time it took them. Speaking as a self-taught web developer, it's not that simple. Maybe they really are geniuses even though this aspect is never once addressed by anyone.
I'm sorry to keep pointing out all the kinks in the story structure, but these can only be excused if, you know, the movie is actually funny. For the most part, Vaughn and Owen just stammer around the Google building trying to seem useful and making the worst jokes possible. Not to mention the film paints Vaughn and Owen to be more dumb than they should as they sling around so many references yet are somehow duped into hunting down the fictional Professor Xavier from X-Men. Unlike their previous comedy smash Wedding Crashers, all of the jokes here are far too sanitized and safe. Even the unrated version on this Blu-ray only pushes the boundaries just a little more by merely slapping some nudity and adult language into the mix.
What makes me so infuriated about this film more than anything else is all of the wasted potential. A tough economy with an abundance of demanding tech job is challenging for both the schooled youngsters and the undereducated adults. There could have been a lot of clever humor and inspirational moments to this comedy with that aspect, but it trades all that in for the predictable underdog story we've seen one too many times.
The Internship doesn't even have the guts to go for the harder laughs on the level of something like Horrible Bosses. It was co-written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern (Mr. Popper's Penguins). Vaughn can be an effectively funny actor, but I'm afraid writing shouldn't be in his future. If his future films are anything like The Internship he's going to have a lousy streak.
Fox delivers a pristine Blu-ray transfer for this release. The 1080p transfer for the 2.35:1 video looks absolutely stunning in some of the location shots. The DTS-HD Master 5.1 track sounds pretty good, but there isn't a whole lot to show off with this film.
Extras on the disc include audio commentary and some deleted scenes. With the exception of Will Ferrell in a Boba Fett costume talking about how much he loves squirrel cosplay, these are mostly forgettable scenes.
There is also Any Given Monday, an NFL-style featurette on the Quidditch scene.
The Internship is little more than a routine let's-win-the-big-game plot coated with a Google advertisement. The charm of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson wears off surprisingly quick with such a paper thin story. They're both good actors, but they need more to work with than what is present here. As it stands, this picture paints the two more as bumbling manchildren than comedic talents.