Movies make us laugh, they make us cry, and they make us angry. But every now and then a movie surprises us by inspiring an unexpected emotion. We expect to laugh at comedies, but occasionally one touches us in a special way. It may sound odd, but that’s exactly how I felt about The Internship, a comedy that was both hilarious and heart-warming.
Vince Vaughn (The Watch) and Owen Wilson (The Big Year) team up for the first time since 2005’s Wedding Crashers, starring as Billy and Nick, two best friends and salesmen whose time has passed. When they attempt to close a big account, they learn they their company is folding. Their boss (John Goodman, Flight) tells them that they have been rendered obsolete in a changing work environment. Faced with the limitations of their age, Billy and Nick are left reeling at the prospect of unemployment.
Nick thinks he’ll be stuck selling mattresses for his sister’s boyfriend (Will Ferrell, The Campaign) until Billy comes up with the idea for their next gig. How often do you Google something? It’s second nature for me, as it is for many people. While Googling job possibilities, Billy found himself staring at the computer screen until it hits him. Why not work at Google? After fudging a few details on their resumes, Billy lands the pair an interview. Their lack of traditional IT knowledge is painfully obvious, but the two manage to impress the hiring panel with their unconventional approach.
After beating the odds and landing the internship, the guys arrive in Silicon Valley. Google’s campus looks like an adult theme park, and the employees are positively delighted to be working there. Quirky inventions abound, and it looks like the place where creative ideas are birthed. Billy and Nick are out of their depth, surrounded by college students with high IQs and low social skills. The interns are divided into teams, and only one team will be announced as winner at the program’s conclusion. Cementing their ‘reject’ status, Billy and Nick are left with the other undesirables to form a team comprised of the leftovers who weren’t chosen.
Despite their shortcomings, Billy and Nick are natural leaders and bring a sense of realness to their privileged, awkward teammates. Neha (Tiya Sircar) is surprisingly sassy and outgoing, Yo-Yo is tightly wound thanks to a domineering mother, and Stuart keeps his eyes glued to a smartphone. Their fearless leader is Lyle, a baby-faced twenty-something whose faux ‘cool guy’ posturing makes him about as hot as a pair of footie pajamas. The teams must compete in a series of challenges, from creating an app to manning phones in Google’s call center. In addition to impressing the bosses, the team has to contend with Graham (Max Minghella, The Ides of March), a pretentious douchebag and rival intern. Every movie needs a villain, and Graham is the fly in the ointment. Can Billy and Nick rise to the top amidst younger, stiffer competition, or are they severely out of their league?
The Internship was a very enjoyable movie, because it was a story most of us can relate to. Anyone who’s ever felt stuck in the “rat-race” of life or been unhappy at a BS job will understand Billy and Nick’s frustration. The movie was funny throughout, and the cameo appearances (Ferrell and Goodman) were well timed and didn’t feel forced. Besides the laughs there were tender moments as well, particularly as Vince Vaughn’s character played concerned big brother and bonded with the younger interns. I didn’t expect any heart-warming moments, but surprisingly it all blended perfectly. The corporate sponsorship of the movie is obvious, but that was unavoidable given the plot. June looks to be a funny month at the box office, and The Internship is a nice way to get things started. Grade: A.
This article first appeared at Poptimal and was reprinted with permission.