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Mon June 10, 2013
The Internship Grade: B+
Director: Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum)
Screenplay: Vince Vaughan (Couples Retreat), Jared Stern (The Watch)
Cast: Vaughan (Fred Claus), Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris)
Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 119 min.
by John DeSando
“Certainly absolute freedom would be more beautiful if we were birds or poets; but cooperation and a loving sacrifice of a part of ourselves—are beautiful too . . . .” George Santayana
Google headquarters, the scene of the current comedic success, The Internship, is described by one hopeful intern as “mental Hunger Games.” Indeed, while the tension between aging intern hopefuls Billy (Vince Vaughan) and Nick (Owen Wilson) and the rest of the 21 year old tech wunderkinds is fierce, life lessons like self sacrifice and abundant clichés provide rules to make sure all will turn out right, as is the mandate of any self-respecting social comedy.
Time and selling watches for born salesmen Billy and Nick have almost run out as they look for new jobs in a competition that too often involves highly-motivated but cynical and humorless college students. Part of the film’s energy comes from the older fellas’ willingness to enter into the fray and energize the proceedings at Google with old-fashioned chutzpah and a people savviness to be gained only with living longer and occasionally prospering. Joining a team of nerds no one else wants in the competition to win permanent jobs with the uber search engine provides the set up for clichés from what the young can learn from the old to what being a selfless team member brings to the victory table.
The obvious formula becomes a pleasure because of Vaughan and Wilson’s charisma and unusual chemistry. They are far more refreshing to watch than a bunch of hung-over middle aged revelers in too many romantic comedies today.
The Internship is an enjoyable romp in the usual combat between young and old, tech and humanity. Its suggestion that the two can cooperate to bring new successes is well taken, especially considering how much territory technology now occupies. That five percent of the interns will get jobs with Google is a celebration rather than desperation considering the dismal state of unemployment worldwide.
Google headquarters and its eccentric trappings such as napping pods and games of Quidditch actually are not the center of the film: it resides rather with the many characters who for whatever reason want to be in the happiest workplace in America: “Technology is preparing a world in which we may be learners all life long.” George B. Leonard
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com