If you go
“The Internship,” rated PG-13
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Running time: 119 minutes
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne and John Goodman.
Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
When you need the time, do you rely on a wristwatch or your cellphone? Would you rather stare at the vista of the Golden Gate Bridge or a screen with the same image?
Most films might demand one answer or the other, but the reason a movie like “The Internship” works is because its appeal is broad enough for technophobes and those who go through withdrawal when wi-fi is down.
Salesmen Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell (Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson) are among the best in their business, but no matter how many deals they may make, it’s not enough to keep their company from going belly up. With limited skills outside their dying industry, neither of them has a clue where to find employment in an increasingly competitive job market.
But an opportunity may just be a mouse-click away when they discover an internship listing with online company Google. Thanks to some creativity with their applications and the interview process, they’re able to uproot themselves and move to the firm’s San Francisco location to get in on the program, which turns out to be more complicated than they thought.
Rather than doing grunt work in the office, they and dozens of other interns will be competing throughout the summer to show their ingenuity and intellect in a variety of activities in the hopes of achieving a few jobs at Google headquarters. Although they may have years of work experience and feel confident about their chances, Billy and Nick quickly find their colleagues, all of whom are half their age, aren’t the least bit threatened by two guys who can barely turn on their desktops.
After their score with “Wedding Crashers,” it’s kind of astonishing that it took this long for Vaughn and Wilson to team up again, and they clearly haven’t lost a step in their routine playing basically the same characters — Vaughn as the master of fast-talking patter and Wilson as his more sensible partner. This time, they’re a little bit older and a little bit wiser, with Billy optimistic about their fresh start despite coming off a breakup with his girlfriend (Joanna Garcia-Swisher) and Nick starting to realize he’s getting to the age where he needs to settle down, hopefully with a comely Google executive (Rose Byrne).
Now, if the two of them could only revert their attention to learning enough about computers to even be in the running. A good start might be saying “online” instead of “on-the-line” when you’re trying to impress people who have been using the Internet every day of their lives.
Apparently, even when you’re starting at the bottom, you’re never too young to condescend to others, at least in the case of our boys’ greatest rival, Graham (Max Minghella), who’s quick to pull rank among the Noogles — new Googlers — and assemble a team of the best minds of the program. Naturally, Billy and Nick get paired with the rejects: facetious hipster Stuart (Dylan O’Brien), pop culture geek Neha (Teya Sircar), and Yo-Yo (Tobit Raphael), the super-stressed cub of a Tiger mom, whose need to succeed culminates in him pulling out his own eyebrow hairs.
Even their equally dorky supervisor (Josh Brener) has doubts about how they can come together, but in the eyes of the program head (Aasif Mandvi), all these kids are unworthy of his time, anyway.
Whether it comes from creating new apps, debugging websites or a good old-fashioned game of Quidditch, the race is on to prove one’s “Googliness,” that quality of a person that determines what kind of unique and creative perspective they can bring to the table. Let’s just step back and think about this for a sec — the best way to get a job with a company that stresses conformity so much it turned its name into a verb is to be individualistic?
The irony isn’t completely lost on director Shawn Levy, who plays up the silliness of having a workplace that looks like a futuristic playground yet goes unappreciated by kids whose time spent looking away from their laptops, tablets and phones only can be measured in nanoseconds. Nerdtopia is wasted on these people.
Co-writer Vaughn is given story credit for a narrative that tries to exploit the generation gap between the two hapless older gents who have just gotten tossed out of their comfy jobs and the college students terrified of not being instant successes upon entering the real world. Just as with the actor’s attempts to write in “The Break-Up” and “Couples Retreat,” his premise is so vague that the cast is pretty much interchangeable, but the riffing between he and Wilson makes it funnier than it might be starring someone else, while a couple of their buddies chime in with supporting laughs in places you wouldn’t expect.
A pop-in by Google co-founder Sergey Brin doesn’t hurt either.
Although it may feel like a needless two-hour ad for what’s already the most-visited site on the Internet, “The Internship” is undemanding enough to accept as summer fluff and nothing more. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s something you’ll enjoy, feel no trepidation in clicking “I’m Feeling Lucky.”
Of course, if that reference is over your head, buying a ticket to a different movie could be the way to go.