Saturday, June 8, 2013

Review: The Internship

Have you ever found yourself flipping through the channels only to land on a movie you haven’t seen in a while?  And by movie’s end you think to yourself how they don’t make movies like that anymore?  The reason that you are thinking that is because you are probably right.  Hollywood has for the most part stripped down its slate to a few “proven” paradigms due to a slowing economy, a perceived shift in viewing tastes, but mostly because of the slow death of the home entertainment market.  Every once in a while though, a movie slips through the cracks of the green light process (or has that rare star who can push it through) and makes it onto the big screen, reminding you of movies long since passed.  The Internship is one of those films.

The Internship is a classic fish-out-of-water narrative that finds Vince Vaughn's and Owen Wilson’s characters recently fired from their now obsolete sales jobs.  In an attempt to right their wrongs and set a new course for their respective lives, Vaughn and Wilson finagle their way into the Google internship program with designs on earning a full time job.

As you can tell from the premise, there is nothing ground breaking about this film.  In fact, director Shawn Levy’s narrative is incredibly formulaic – an almost paint-by-numbers approach to comedic filmmaking.  The twists and turns are right on cue as if timed to a metronome and the outcome a forgone conclusion even as the opening credits roll.  So you may be wondering why then I waxed poetic about this kind of movie at the outset of this review?  Well, the simple answer is that it’s a positive story littered with likable characters.  Most of the movies that come down the pipeline these days are incredibly dark or driven by massive action; and this is not a bad thing.  Many of my favorite movies fit into one or both of those buckets.  But every once in a while, it’s nice to sit down to a movie that is easy to digest where you can just root for the underdog.  That’s The Internship.

The work of Vaughn and Wilson in this movie will not make anyone forget Wedding Crashers, but their chemistry is spot on and they never miss a beat.  Vaughn delivers his usual glib shtick spewing one-liners at break neck speed while Wilson is the same affable happy-go-lucky goof that we’ve seen in so many other movies.  Again, it’s nothing new and nothing edgy, but it’s familiar and comforting – as if you are seeing an old friend on screen.  It’s nowhere near their best work individually or as a tandem, but the two show that even with the loss of a few miles per hour off the proverbial fastball, they can still get the job done.

As for the work of the rest of the cast, it is unremarkable but not unpleasant.  Rose Byrne as love-interest Dana is endearing in small doses and fits the bill – nothing more and nothing less.  Aasif Mandvi’s Mr. Hawtrey is a caricature of a bunch of stereotypes, but Mandvi does an admirable job of making his character likable enough while setting up Vaughn for some of his best gags.  Josh Brener, Dylan O’Brien, Tiya Sircar, and Tobit Raphael do a decent job of playing the band of misfits surrounding the bumbling protagonists and add a bit of value to the likability of this film.  As for Max Minghella’s Graham Hawtrey, he delivers a spot on portrayal of an aspiring MBA candidate.

So as I consider the complete picture that is The Internship, I am hard pressed to call it a good movie or maybe even a decent movie.  It’s not original, not innovative, and not a must see in the cinema type of film.  But there are some funny moments and there is something to be said for a movie that is easy to watch and that leaves you feeling good by the  time the credits roll.  I don’t suggest you plunk $15 down on the counter at your local cinema for this one, but I would suggest you save it on one of your rental queues.  It probably will not impact your life in the least, but by the end of those two hours you will feel a little better about the world.

Standout Performance:  Rob Riggle and Will Ferrell.  Great cameos.


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