‘The Internship’: Lost in cyberspace

Carljoe Javier
In ‘The Internship,’ Vince and Owen are old-school salesmen venturing online with disastrous, hilarious results

OLD SCHOOL. Wilson and Vaughn are dinosaurs in social-media milieu. Photo from Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – While “The Internship” purports to show us the story of how it is to apply to get into Google, it also becomes 3 other things.

First, it’s a feature-length Google commercial (and a pretty good one as such).

Second, it is an amalgam of a bunch of comedy movie tropes: buddies who have to fit into an alien environment, older dudes hanging with younger kids, back to school, “Animal House” antics, underdog struggles, and the ever common fun guy who just can’t seem to get things right trying to get things right.

Lastly, it looks at a social milieu where middle-aged men, due to a rough economy, are forced to reinvent themselves.

While the film’s focus falls on the first two things, the last is the important jumping point.

We get Billy and Nick, a couple of cool dudes who are pros in sales, played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson — who are playing versions of the personas they have taken in similar comedy flicks — who lose their jobs when their company closes.

Disconnect in the online world

Salesmanship and their ability to connect with clients become assets of diminishing value in an increasingly online and digital world.

I think this is a common experience, and something worth exploring.

Then again this flick is a comedy. So while it sets this up so that the film can have some gravitas and the stakes for what these characters have to lose or gain are clear, the main work here is to give us a lot of laughs to outweigh the initial tragedies.

The two wrangle themselves into a program that has them working as interns at Google, with the hopes of winning jobs at the end of the summer. And silliness and fun ensue.

Once you get the two on the Google campus, you can start playing the fish out of water schtick. And it’s easy to imagine this film appealing to a middle-aged audience who see the way that kids use technology, but don’t get it.

Seeing these two older guys trying to fit in and work, amid a younger generation that treats them like dinosaurs who are better off going extinct, creates a lot of sympathy for the characters.

Highlights in trailer

Vaughn and Wilson are funny guys. Sometimes they can pull off comedy with the thinnest material. Here though a lot of the jokes are cliché, although the situations and gags built around them are new and interesting enough that they work.

If you’re looking for laughs, there are lots to be had in “The Internship.” But there is a problem with the jokes.

In the last few months, they’ve been showing trailers for this movie, and that’s gotten me excited.

Once I was watching though, I found that the majority of the funniest parts were already in the trailer, and for about two thirds of the film, I knew what the punchlines for certain gags would be.

If I had seen this without having seen the trailers, I would probably have found it a lot funnier. As it was, the jokes were good. Too bad they were spoiled.

The film winds up saying a lot of strong things about the generation gap, and the incredibly wide gap in culture between the generations.

Trying to fit

It talks about the changing values, the kinds of things that each generation holds important, and to the film’s credit, it does a great job of showing how such gaps can be bridged.

I found that despite the film drawing on so many tried and tested comedy tropes, it had a lot of thought and heart to it that give it potential to connect with an audience.

It isn’t just about guys goofing off, it isn’t just funny crazy stuff happening, it isn’t just cliche jokes and romance, though the film is mostly those things.

“The Internship” is a film that has a wacky premise and a lot of funny sequences.

More importantly, it has its heart in the right place as it tries to tell us a story filled with fun and humor about two down-on-their-luck guys trying to fit into a world that is changing around them.

This movie is far from important, and it doesn’t break new ground in any way. But not all films have to.

This film just wants to give us some laughs and tell us a fun story for a couple of hours. And in doing that, it does a great job. – Rappler.com

Here’s the film’s trailer: 

 


Carljoe Javier
 is at the faculty of English and Comparative Literature at UP. He is also an author, and among his books are ‘The Kobayashi Maru of Love,’ the new edition of which is available from Visprint Inc. His upcoming ‘Writing 30’ will be available as an ebook at amazon, ibookstore, b&n, and flipreads.com