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‘Internship’ a little too labored in some places

  • McClatchy-Tribune
  • Published Thursday, June 6, 2013, at 12:19 p.m.


‘The Internship’

* * * 

Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rose Byrne, John Goodman

Directed by: Shawn Levy

There’s an unadulterated joy in the reteaming of those fast-talking “Wedding Crashers” Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a wholesome novelty in their playing laid-off salesmen forced to do what millions of Americans have had to do in the past six years: reinvent themselves.

We’ve missed the patter, the Red Bull-fueled banter that was Vaughn’s bread and butter before Jennifer Aniston and “Fred Claus” sucked away his soul. He came up with this zeitgeist tale of pals Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), who are told they’re over and done with when the watch company they worked for folds.

“Face it,” the boss (John Goodman) mutters, “where you’re going you’ve already been.”

They’re starting over in their 40s. That means finding a job – any job – with “a future.” And, no, taking a job with Nick’s sister’s boorish boyfriend (Will Ferrell, hilarious) at his mattress store isn’t it. To Billy, it means landing internships at global tech monolith Google, which has its raping/pillaging corporate image polished in this summer feel-good comedy.

Because feeling good is what results when fast-talking Billy and charming, womanizing Nick land as “diversity hires” in Google’s best-and-brightest-and-youngest internship program. The boss (the amusingly droll Aasif Mandvi) is skeptical. The pretty 30-something workaholic exec (Rose Byrne) is resistant to their charms.

Their skills, they’re told, “aren’t relevant in this millennium.”

On a campus where “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” are the appropriate cultural touchstones, Billy’s inclined to give old-school pep talks about “that little steel-town girl, Ally” (“Flashdance”) and reassuringly tells a troubled colleague, “I’m your Bill Holden in ‘Stalag 17.’ ”

“I don’t get that reference.”

“Google it.”

“The Internship” is entirely too long. The misfits the lads team up with are a “United Colors of Nerd.” The well-worn story arc has contests (computer code de-bugging, app-inventing – and Quidditch) to see whose team will be offered jobs at the end of the internship and team-building exercises that include a strip-club jaunt and assorted young-on-old practical jokes.

But Max Minghella makes a fine, arrogant Brit intern-nemesis. Tiya Sircar and Josh Brener stand out as fellow “outliers” in the Googleverse.

And interns Wilson and Vaughn swap lines like veteran jazz musicians who still have a sense of play about them, an endless supply of nicknames, high- and low-fives, dated slang and goodwill – theirs for each other, and ours for them.

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