The Internship is a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Yet, it seems more like a feature length advert for Google. From the marketing for the film to the finished product, we’re exposed to the Google brand, workplace and ethos again… and again… and again.
The story is set at Google HQ, where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s characters are enrolled in an internship programme. Starting as an interesting social commentary on traditional pursuits and the digital age, the film devolves into a formulaic and full-blown advert as each candidate immerses themselves in the Google culture and competes in a spectrum of Google-related tasks.
Vaughn and Wilson are having an absolute ball and this fun spirit drives a rather lack-lustre comedy script that crackles with the odd laugh. They deliver performances that play to their charms without straying too far from “the usual”, while Rose Byrne fills in as the high school “hottie”, Aasif Mandvi as the watchful “principal” and Max Minghella as the schoolyard “bully”.
The Internship makes an interesting tour of the Google facilities and we get a chance to familiarise ourselves with the ethos, but you can’t help but feel a documentary would have been a better match. It probably would have been more acceptable if The Internship had been much funnier as a comedy and the product placement had been toned down.
Having Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as our unofficial tour guide technophobes certainly spices things up a bit in a Role Models style comedy, but without the Google interest, it’d simply be a Never Been Kissed knock-off. It’s mindless feel good entertainment at best and you could do a lot worse, but it has to go down as a misfire.
You can admire the producers, and Vince Vaughn, for trying to turn product placement financing into a structural film concept. However noble their intentions, The Internship loses its dramatic integrity in the process as we essentially pay for a somewhat entertaining advert.
The bottom line: Googly