The Internship review: triumph of the shill

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The Internship red light Vince Vaughn Owen Wilson

Is it supposed to be flattering to Google that two idiots bullshit their way into a highly competitive internship, even though they know nothing about computers, or the Internet, or programming?
I’m “biast” (pro): I have a love/hate relationship with Owen Wilson, mostly love

I’m “biast” (con): I have a love/hate relationship with Vince Vaughn, mostly hate; director Shawn Levy makes my eye twitch

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Ya gotta figure that Google knew it was gonna get out, eventually, how they colluded with the NSA to pass on all your secret shit to sweaty security subcontractors who never leave their cubicles: which porn sites you surf, that embarrassing medical condition you Googled, which coworker you’ve got a secret gmail account for email-flirting with, and for ordering dildoes. You know, how they directly contravened their own “Don’t Be Evil” directive and went evil. So they schemed. Why not cover their asses and make sure everyone is inoculated with love and giggles for Google by making a comedy picture with America’s favorite wedding crashers, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson? For fun!

This is the problem with evil. It always fails, because arrogance is its own punishment in the long run.

This is the other problem with evil, and with Google in particular: It won’t simply acknowledge that love ’em or hate ’em, we have no choice but to deal with ’em. Even if you don’t use Google, out of principle or whatever, Google’s practices impact every Web site on the Net. Hell, I’m half terrified that criticizing Google and the dumbass movie it thought would make it look good will end up getting me docked a couple of PageRank points.

So, you know, it makes the desperation to be loved sort of pathetic. We already fear. Isn’t that enough?

Vince and Owen are salesmen — it doesn’t matter what they sell because they are all about the bullshit and getting people to part with their money for no good reason, and feeling good about that, for some reason that is never very clear. Money is awesome, I guess is the underlying presumption that we can all get onboard with, and cheating people is cool, maybe (Google certainly knows these things). But then they get laid off, for another reason that is never really made clear, except: Recession! Computers! The rise of the Internet means even all bullshitting is done online these days.

Is it supposed to be flattering to Google that these two idiots, looking for something new to fill their days, bullshit their way into a highly competitive internship with the company, even though they know nothing about computers, or the Internet, or programming? I mean, Vince keeps saying “on the line” when he means “online,” ever after he’s spent weeks and weeks immersed in the Google internship that they of course succeed in scamming their way in to. Is this, perhaps, how the whole NSA thing happened? Some moron Google employee thought the NSA was the National Softball Association and figured there’d be no harm in sharing some data with them?

So there’s macro-level stupid in The Internship, but also micro level, too. Like how when Vince and Owen do their Skype interview with Google, they have to go to the library and sit in tiny kiddie chairs — cuz that’s funny if this is 1923 Broadway vaudeville — and be subjected to “hilarious” interactions with the small children interrupting their Skype call… even though we’ve already seen that Vince has a computer at home, which is how he found out about the internship program in the first place, and, Christ, seriously? this guy doesn’t know how to use “online”? Bullshit! (It’s like the movie knows there’s nothing inherently funny about two middle-aged men lying their way into something, so it tries to distract us with putatively amusing children.) Like how Owen can make a snap snarky off-the-cuff comment about how the internship program, in which many interns are competing for a few jobs, is like a “mental Hunger Games”… and then they can still find themselves subjected to an extended practical joke by the other interns because they apparently have not the slightest inkling what X-Men is. Bullshit!

But Google is the most awesome place to work ever, we’re meant to understand. Even if you’re a kid who sacrificed childhood to get into MIT and then sacrificed young adulthood to the digital slavery that is Google — where they never let you go home but, hey, dry-cleaning and serfsnacks are free — and then discovered you’d have to be working with the likes of Vince “On the Line” Vaughn (The Dilemma, Couples Retreat) and Owen Wilson (The Big Year, Midnight in Paris). (“We can coattail this bitch,” Vince says when he realizes that they’re in waaaaay over their heads. And they do! “And there’s no shame in that,” Owen replies. And there isn’t! There is only triumph.) Because there’s a giant slide in the lobby. There are nap pods, for when you haven’t seen your home in days and just need to sleep for the love of God sleep. There are propeller beanie caps. Damn, it’s like Willy Wonka’s wet dream, so it is.

Please could we get, on the DVD, the deleted scene in which Vince accidentally oops pushes the wrong button and opens up that back door to the NSA? Comedy gold, I’m sure.

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Wed, Jul 03, 2013 3:38pm

just from the trailers and the ads, i knew…

reply to  bronxbee
Wed, Jul 03, 2013 4:45pm

There’s a theory that when spammers send out messages like the Nigerian prince e-mail, they don’t go to much trouble to hide that it’s a scam. They try a really obvious ruse, so that only the stupidest people on the planet will fall for it. That way, there’s not much risk that the victim will catch on and make trouble for the spammers.

I think the same principle applies to film trailers. They make it so obvious that the movie is terrible that only people who like stupid jokes will see the movie. There must be a lot of people like that, because almost every trailer looks terrible these days.

reply to  Danielm80
Fri, Jul 05, 2013 6:28pm

I never thought about that when it comes to Nigerian spammers. That makes so much sense (and explains why no one in Nigeria has a spell-checker…)

Thu, Jul 04, 2013 9:25am

THANK YOU, for calling it what this movie is. My God what b.s. this movie gives out. We are supposed to believe these two ‘salesmen’ have no inkling of what the internet is? Have they ever used a cell phone to call their potential customers or did they call on land line telephones and phone booths to sales pitch to them? In all the twenty odd years since the internet became mainstream, no customer said ‘text me’ or ’email me’ or what is your company’s website? I can go on and on about how silly this movie is. I have never seen a movie so out of touch with todays reality (or the reality of the last 10 years). P.S. You can’t teach CSS and HTML and internet usage in that short a time (the tech support scene was ridiculous… he didn’t know that you had to click on the upper left button before you started, but knew how to handle ALL of the tech support with such smoothness!!??? lmao

Sun, Jul 07, 2013 9:16pm

A brilliant review. Films like this really are a direct insult aimed squarely at the human race in general and at everything that makes life worth living.

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 3:36pm

Maybe those middle-aged men who can’t understand computers are the projected self-images of the old men who saw this concept/script and decided to go ahead with it.