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The Pursuit of Haplessness

The Internship (2013)

Phil Bray/20th Century Fox

“The Internship” reunites Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn eight years after the Frat Pack blockbuster “Wedding Crashers.” Instead of crashing weddings for free food, free booze and hormonal women, this time they are crashing Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus for prospective employment and, O.K., free food. The freewheeling naughts have made way for the fruitless teens. Even those perpetual slackers who talk a good game can’t talk their way out of the paper bag that is unemployment nowadays. In the face of the rippling foreclosure and broken marriage, though, the Frat Pack keeps its sunny side up: Who cares if the Google internships are only open to college students? Let’s enroll in the University of Phoenix!

Lacking the smarts and the skills, Messrs. Wilson and Vaughn are the outcasts in this particular microcosm, relegated to the motley crew of misfits passed over in the schoolyard picks. They do eventually prove themselves useful, though, by teaching teamwork to their fellow underdogs during a quidditch tournament straight out of the Hogwarts and also introducing them to the wonders of strip joints.

As their overachieving arch nemesis in the running for a handful of full-time openings, Max Minghella invites comparison to that other artifact of the dot-com era, “The Social Network.” Whereas that Facebook movie was factually based and gravely grim, this Google movie is one walking product placement that is gleefully oblivious and supposedly funny. But the film is not particularly funny at all. One wonders if some knucklehead at Google inundated the screenwriters, Jared Stern and Mr. Vaughn, with script notes that sterilized the proceedings. But “The Internship” is less a pageant of Google’s products and services than an agitprop of the company’s corporate philosophy and culture. As the film heads into its inevitable happy ending, it glosses over some gaping plot holes that fail to connect how any of Google’s challenges for its interns are of relevance to its products and services. If anything, all the film does is supply dubious hope to prospective Google interns and the general population that the American dream, however illusive, is alive and well — at Google anyway.


Opens on June 7 in the United States and on July 3 in Britain.

Directed by Shawn Levy; written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern, based on a story by Mr. Vaughn; director of photography, Jonathan Brown; edited by Dean Zimmerman; music by Christophe Beck; production design by Tom Meyer; costumes by Leesa Evans; produced by Mr. Vaughn and Mr. Levy; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 1 hour 59 minutes. This film is rated PG-13 by M.P.A.A. and 12A by B.B.F.C.

WITH: Vince Vaughn (Billy McMahon), Owen Wilson (Nick Campbell), Rose Byrne (Dana), Max Minghella (Graham Hawtrey), Aasif Mandvi (Mr. Chetty), Josh Brener (Lyle), Dylan O’Brien (Stuart), Tobit Raphael (Yo-Yo Santos), Tiya Sircar (Neha) and Jessica Szohr (Marielena).


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