'The Internship'


In one sense -- and only one sense -- The Internship is a much more interesting film than it would seem at first glance. Yes, I can report that most of the criticisms levied against it are valid. It redefines product placement in a film, serving as an extended and shameless hagiography of a corporation, Google, about which there are legitimate concerns. It is painfully formulaic and absurdly simplistic thematically. It is at least 20 minutes too long. (Seriously, folks, enough with the two-hour comedies.) And it is a duller, middle-aged rehash of Wedding Crashers, the first and far superior collaboration between stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.

But as a pop culture mile marker, well, it's kind of fascinating what the existence of a film like The Internship means.

Its plodding pace gives you plenty of time to think, and for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about Revenge of the Nerds. The jocks-vs.-nerds dynamic of that 1984 film is obsolete, a relic because, well, the nerds scored a knockout a long, long time ago. The fact that a company like Google can turn a comedy from a major Hollywood studio in to a two-hour commercial is proof of that. So are the roles Wilson and Vaughn play, that of salesmen who have gotten by almost exclusively on their personalities and have watched the world pass them by as a result.

Accepted into Google's internship program after they lose their sales jobs, the pair, who might have been right alongside Ogre and Stan Gable a few decades ago, are there to crack jokes and to remind the nerds on their intern team that being a people person still matters even in a world in which technology is a singularly dominant force. Forget the obvious and pedantic message for a second and consider that Revenge of the Nerds was a thing 29 years ago and now we have The Internship, which might as well be retitled Mild Protestations of the Obsolete Luddites.

Do you need to actually go out and watch The Internship to realize how much the world has changed since the mid-1980s? Of course not. Wilson and Vaughn have their moments, but this is a thoroughly forgettable film. If you want vintage Wilson and Vaughn then by all means just go ahead and rewatch Wedding Crashers. But if you want a reminder that even sub-mediocre films can be interesting, well, you could do worse.