Two Pals in Palo Alto

The Internship

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Director: Shawn Levy

Cast: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Szohr, Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, Will Ferrell, Josh Gad, Aasif Mandvi

It’s very difficult to make the internet appealing, funny or sexy onscreen. Director David Fincher achieved this in The Social Network with the brilliantly adapted screenplay by Aaron Sorkin of the Benz Mezrich novel The Accidental Billionaires about the rise of Facebook.

In a much lesser way The Internship once again teams up The Wedding Crashers comic duo Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two middle aged wristwatch salesmen Bill McMahon and Nick Campbell who find their sales talents are no longer required in the 21st century digital age, forcing them to apply for an unlikely internship at Google Headquarters in Palo Alo, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

What follows is a humorous tale of two friends who have to compete in a so called mental Hunger Games scenario rife with geeky sci-fi comicbook references from X-Men to Harry Potter as part of a summer internship with a group of graduates half their age at the search engine’s playground themed headquarters. Whilst the Internship does not have the plot substance to sustain a two hour film, it nevertheless remains a clever comedy taking a poignant look at how the 40+ age group is coping with the sudden onslaught of the digital age especially all that Google has to offer.

Thankfully director Shawn Levy does takes some of the action of The Internship away from Google headquarters otherwise the entire film would be a product endorsement for the search engine giant, offering viewers some wonderful shots of San Francisco particularly the Golden Gate Bridge. There is also a very funny (The Hangover inspired scene) where Bill & Nick take their young team mates on a night out on the town landing in a pole dancing club and naturally the narrative is driven by the same onscreen chemistry between Vaughn and Owen which made The Wedding Crashers such a smash hit.

The late director Anthony Minghella’s son Max Minghella (The Social Network) plays the rival team leader Graham Hawtrey, a competitive alpha male who gets his laughs by putting down his fellow teammates, while Nick and Bill show that despite their age difference, collaboration is the best form of winning in a competitive environment. The Internship at times comes across as trite, supercilious, but it is nevertheless funny and is helped by a lovely appearance by Australian actress Rose Byrne, who plays Nick’s love interest Dana.

Cinematically The Internship is in not in the same league as The Social Network, but is a fun look at how 40 somethings have to re-evaluate and reinvent their professional lives in the wake of a 21st century youth inspired digital revolution whether its through Google, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook. For fans of The Wedding Crashers, then The Internship will certainly appeal, despite it being ageist, sexist and at times mundane, only highlighting that the American dream is still obtainable even if you have to Google it!

Besides uncredited cameos by John Goodman and Will Ferrell, the film also stars Dylan O’Brien, Josh Brener and Jessica Szohr.

 

 

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