Fox // 2013 // 119 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 4th, 2013
Get ready to crash the system.
The Internship is everything that is wrong with movies. It is so bad, humanity's fall should be retconned to make this the reason for our expulsion from Eden.
Two salesmen, Billy (Vince Vaughn, Dodgeball) and Nick (Owen Wilson, Shanghai Noon) have carved out a serviceable living slinging watches. But when their company unexpectedly closes, they're professionally rudderless. In hopes of charting a new course to long-term financial stability, they apply to be interns at Google and miraculously make the cut, despite lying on their resumes and coming across as barely functional troglodytes during their interviews.
Once at Google, a magical place of dreams and whimsy and cucumber smoothies, they are grouped into a team of misfits and cast-offs and pitted against other teams for a summer-long competition, the victors earning full-time jobs. What's next? Learning, laughter, product placement and strippers.
There's a moment at the end of The Internship that perfectly encapsulates its wretchedness. Our underachieving band of heroes, on the cusp of disqualification, makes a grand entrance into the final event of the intern competition, and at the last minute wins the final challenge, ensuring that they have bested all the other teams for the highly sought-after full-time jobs. How does the crowd respond? Why, they deliver a standing ovation of course, cheering and shouting and laughing as if they'd all collectively won the lottery, when, in fact, just the opposite has happened: they just lost their jobs.
If you think I just spoiled something then you have obviously never watched one of these paint-by-numbers softball Hollywood comedies before. The Internship is pure, distilled pap, predictable in all facets of character and story, and exemplary in none. Add to that the excruciating omnipresence of the Google brand and you've got the frontrunner for Worst Film Experience of 2013 and that list includes the time the popcorn at a Pacific Rim showing gave me explosive diarrhea.
Full disclosure: I purposely requested to review this film. Not because I was sharpening my knives and looking forward to delivering a premium excoriation; just the opposite actually. The trailers and TV spots had made me recoil, but I wanted to give The Internship a chance to eclipse my expectations, to teach me a valuable lesson in succumbing to first impressions. Prove me wrong.
Nowadays, I like to look back at this period of life and snicker. How wide-eyed and unaware I was that one week ago. How naive. How dumb. For, you see, The Internship turned out to be precisely the kind of self-oblivious huckster filmmaking that I had assumed. What I wasn't expecting is that I would loathe every other element as well.
There is precisely one funny sequence in the entire film. And it has nothing to with anything. Will Ferrell cameos as a deranged mattress salesman in an extended and, arguably, superfluous segment. I laughed. Then it was over and the actual plot kicked in and the sky turned to sackcloth.
Let's get the big one out of the way: Google. No amount of marketing dollars could ever buy the kind of fawning boot-licking witnessed here. When Billy and Nick first show up at the HQ it's like those kids getting a glimpse of Wonka's Chocolate Factory, except instead of lickable wallpaper and a river of flowing chocolate, you get dorky propeller beanies and bicycle-riding 20-somethings with superiority complexes. Characters will pause in the middle of their dialogue to extol the virtues of encouraging social change through using Google search algorithms. Lines are squeezed in lauding the company's embrace of diversity. The word "Googliness" is used multiple times. Yes, Googliness.
It's all nauseating and I'm left wondering how oblivious the presumably happening execs at The Most Fun Technological Company in the Universe think this overwrought tongue bath is helpful to their brand? When a centerpiece of the film is a Quiddith match (because one's ability to jog around with a broom between his legs throwing kickballs is an excellent indicator of tech skill) and there is no hint that anyone is aware of how dumb they look, you know you're through the looking-Google-glass.
Tagged to occupy this gross pastel universe is a lineup of stereotypes that you've all seen before: the obtuse downer, the too-cool flygirl, the sheltered loner and the full-on geek with a heart of gold. Their respective paths terminate precisely where you expect them to. Like everything in this movie. The only surprise was the unrated cut of the film actually earns that moniker, ladling on F-bombs and topless nudity, effectively stripping the film of its one salvageable principle: you could pawn it off on your parents as a half-assed anniversary present.
Both versions, theatrical and unrated, receive clean 2.35:1, 1080p (AVC-encoded @ 24 MBPS) treatments that bring out the Google colors with pizzazz; they are supplemented by 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Extras: audio commentary by director Shawn Levy, deleted scenes and a featurette on the filming of the Quidditch match.
Unfunny, overlong, predictable and vacuous, The Internship is an even bigger embarrassment than I had at first presumed.
Guilty. Where's my Altavista movie?
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, Descriptive)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Theatrical Cut
* Deleted Scenes
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download
* Official Site
* Facebook Page