Ever since Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson charmed us with their buddy comedy antics in Wedding Crashers, people have been wondering if these two stars would ever reunite again to rekindle the hilarious fire that once was. OK, maybe I don’t speak for everyone, but at least I’ve been wondering when Vaughn and Wilson would team up for another buddy comedy, and my questions were answered when Shawn Levy’s The Internship was announced. Two bumbling ex-salesmen trying to fit in at the world’s largest and most powerful tech company? Sure, my expectations weren’t sky high, but the Vaughn/Wilson connection was enough to drag me to the theater, and you know what – I surprisingly don’t regret my decision in the least. I know, I’ve seen other reviews, you can just go ahead and start hating on me now.
Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn) and Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson) are two of the hottest salesmen around, until they lose their jobs and are forced into a world where their skills are no longer sought after. As Nick goes to work at his brother-in-law’s mattress store, Billy searches the Internet for any job he can find, until he sees the perfect opportunity looking him in the face – Google. Even though it’s only an internship program that could possibly lead to a career, the two “ace” their interview and find themselves participating in Google’s summer intern program where the brightest young minds are competing for only a handful of positions. Proving their inexperience early, Billy and Nick end up with a team of “leftovers” and a leader who doesn’t seem too savvy either, but what our two sales sharks lack in tech skills, they make up in heart. Can Billy and Nick bring their team together and snag the highly sought-after jobs by winning the internship competition? Or will snobby Ivy-league types like Graham Hawtrey (Max Minghella) defeat the dinosaurs with ease.
I’m not going to say I was blown away by The Internship, and I’m not going to say Wilson and Vaughn were in tip-top shape, but I will say that for an extremely predictable and recycled comedy, I laughed a lot harder than I thought I would. Sure, our dynamic comedy duo were obviously trying to replicate their Wedding Crashers success every chance they got, even going as far as to recreate a few scenes almost identically, but there’s an undeniable charm to their comedic teaming. How can you hate the whole “lovable oaf” and “handsome funny man” game these two play? Well, OK, pretty damn easily if the script is malarkey, but there’s enough understanding of the current tech culture and competitive job market to exploit Nick and Billy for relevant situational comedy.
Being one of those twenty-something kids caught in a job market that can’t even guarantee jobs for all college graduates, The Internship actually resonated with me on a level of total understanding – especially with our cynical college kids. I’m glad Vince Vaughn’s story addressed the hardships graduates face going into the world, full of debt because society drills into our brains the need for quality education, and then finding out just how competitive the job market actually is. Sure, a large portion of the story focuses on two out-of-date salesmen trying to survive in a tech-based world, but addressing our current societal problems this “lucky generation” faces made me smile.
As far as comedic predictability though, Vaughn and Wilson don’t really travel far out of the box. If you’ve seen them act in any movies separately, and again, sorry I’m hammering this home, but if you’ve seen Wedding Crashers, you know exactly what kind of comedy to expect from the two. Vince Vaughn says inappropriate things, Owen Wilson chimes in with little charming quips, Vince chases food, Owen chases a girl – yup, the two quickest talkers around doing what they always do.
The situation itself brought the comedy to Owen and Vince, thrusting these two aged workers somewhere extremely unfamiliar, requiring them to finagle their way through the ordeal without having any of the expertise required – again, sound familiar? Google itself played a great character though, and I can’t understand people calling The Internship out for being nothing but pro-Google propaganda, because that’s essentially what the movie was about. Billy and Nick go to Google because it is the promised land, why would they gamble so mightily on a company that was crap? The free food, volleyball courts, bikes, slides, everything – those were essential pieces to Levy’s movie explaining why Nick and Billy are hypnotized by one of the largest companies in the world. I didn’t take a single minute of pro-Google exploitation as some snooty “look how good our company is” marketing campaign, but instead as an intimate look into what makes Google so gosh darn Googly.
As for Wilson and Vaughn, I was also please to see how nicely they played with co-stars Josh Brener (Lyle), Dylan O’Brien (Stuart), Tiya Sircar (Neha), Tobit Raphael (Yo-Yo), Max Minghella (Graham), and Aasif Mandvi (Mr. Chetty). Between coaching the awkward managerial style of Lyle, to fighting through Stuart’s cynically tragic personality, to dealing with Neha’s struggles, to putting the overtly cocky Graham in his place, to Billy’s attempts to win over Mr. Chetty, our two stars do a much better job interacting with the cast around them than each other this time around. My only complaint concerning the cast involves Rose Byrne’s lack of involvement, who is a real delight as Wilson’s love interest.
I know, I’m as shocked as you are that I’m giving The Internship this praise. Personally, I didn’t think the trailers looked all that funny, but Vaughn and Wilson’s semi-return to form mustered enough strength to make everyone around them funnier – not necessarily themselves, either. Sure, some might find Lyle’s constant weirdness a little too over-the-top, or scoff at Yo-Yo’s home schooling problems, but so many college graduate stereotypes are hit upon that I’ve seen, and there’s actually more reality to this situation than one might believe.
But I mean come on, how can you hate on something that has Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson playing Quidditch?!
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn may deliver predictable performances, but they succeed in making everyone around them funnier.