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‘The Internship’ Film Review: Analog vs. digital Googliness

“The Internship” is a harmless buddy comedy that offers a collection of mild laughs — making it a commercially pleasant and goofy picture centering on a corporate entity. As a middlebrow fish-out-of-water tale, it works through the fairly entertaining performances of its two leads Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. It may be too formulaic and improbable in trying to live up to the idea of “Googliness,” but it has enough chemistry to promote a fair bit of geniality for its target audience.

This ultra-conventional bromantic flick relatively takes product placement to a new level. It may even end up as a case study on how to capitalize on modern brands, Hollywood-style. It succeeds in blatantly treating the Google brand as something worth glorifying through its aggressive advertising package for the multinational corporation, which places Google at the pinnacle of corporate altruism as the story progresses. However, the narrative still seems less concerned with its characters or its plot in favor of its corporate partnership and promotional tie-ins. Some may even find it working better as a two-hour commercial with bits of Hollywood movie elements to play around with.

The story revolves around two aging salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital realm. In trying to prove their worth and out of fear of disappearing into obsolescence, they defy all odds just to get into a coveted summer internship at Google, which would eventually lead to full-time job offers for the most deserving interns. It turns out that gaining entrance to the internship is only half the battle, as they compete with the nation’s most elite and tech-savvy geniuses inside one of the most prestigious companies in the world. In no time, they also find themselves lost in a technological domain filled with dozens of digital natives in their teens and their early 20s.

Although at times feeling stale or lazy, a good number of scenes utilize adequately goofy bantering to induce laughs. In any case, this innocuous and inoffensive underdog comedy somehow tries to tap into the occupational problems, the mundane necessities, and the emotional essentials of life, which often demand for re-invention. It also touches on how two different generations attempt to educate one another in order to survive the urban jungle. However, its decent premise gets reduced into a clichéd script. Given the story’s bullet-point structure, the screenplay works as if it were produced by a computer program. And so, in order to deliver a non-demanding escapist treat, it relies too much on a timeworn, by-the-numbers plotting and a topical and intermittently funny screenplay.

As a reuniting project after their successful 2005 flick “Wedding Crashers,” Wilson and Vaughn deliver predictable but effective acting in this comedic romp. The duo still triumph over the movie’s flaws by wringing some laughs and working a measure of magic in their infectious brand of humor. They hold on long enough to promote their suitably charismatic interplays on screen. “The Internship” doesn’t break any new comedic ground. With a conventionality that is simply sugarcoated by glossy and techie elements, it is in no means a classic genre offering. Yet, it remains as an amiable, crowd-pleasing material that gets past its massive product placement issues by gently mocking on the relationship between analog and digital. Those easy to please may find it occasionally moving and rightfully entertaining. Those with more discriminating tastes when it comes to their motion-picture choices may find it lacking innovation and originality — two things that ironically serve as integral aspects of the Google brand. But at the very least, this cinematic offering provides some genuine moments of laughter for the general audience.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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