The Internship or Google: A True Underdog Story

the internship

Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.

There is a simple rule of thumb for any of Vince Vaughn’s films. The more rotund he is, the worse the film. Thus, in his career high point, Swingers, he is a lean, mean seducing machine, the epitome of cool. Conversely, in the execrable Couples Retreat, he is the wrong side of bloated and the film is, accordingly, a flailing, saggy mess.

In The Internship his weight actually seems to fluctuate from shot to shot which goes some way to explaining the film’s uneven, inconsistent quality, but he could also deflect the blame onto the film’s lacklustre script written by…uh…Vince Vaughn.

Inspiration for The Internship seems to have been sourced directly from an old Friends episode, specifically the one where Chandler, jaded by the pressures of his high-powered job, chucks it all in to become an intern for an advertising company. With all the other interns being bright young things half his age, the scene is set for fish out of water hilarity. Vaughn and co have decided to take this basic premise and stretch it out across a two hour film, but without Matthew Perry! Oh Chandler, where art thou?

Rather than New York’s finest, we have a Southern Gentleman in the shape of Owen Wilson once again teaming up with Vaughan after the success of Wedding Crashers. Vaughan and Wilson play Billy and Nick, two roving watch salesman who suddenly find themselves out of a job after their boss announces the closure of their company because ‘watches are obsolete’ now that everyone just looks at their phone for the time. Dubious logic aside, Billy and Nick attempt to reinvent themselves in their search for a new livelihood.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was a middle-aged high school graduate with limited computer skills then a job at Google might potentially seem out of reach. Not for our optimistic duo though as they charm their way into an internship with the search giant. And they only had to lie a little on their application form and during the interview. Soon enough they are upping sticks to Google HQ in San Francisco and attempting to ingratiate themselves with fellow interns and management.

Google HQ is somewhat akin to a giant corporate toy town. There are slides, nap pods, free food and drink and no doubt the Google slogan of “Don’t be Evil” in hundred foot letters on the side of the building. In terms of benefits it’s not too dissimilar to Vada HQ except by benefits, I mean alcohol and by Vada HQ, I mean the pub.

Anyway, Nick and Bill end up in the ‘reject’ team of interns. Google is thankfully quite Darwinian at heart. All the interns are divided into teams and forced to compete in a series of tasks with the winners acquiring a job with Google at the end. It’s a bit like The Hunger Games except with added cruelty.

The tasks range from playing Quidditch, (yes, really) to manning the Google helplines as Nick and Bill attempt to steer their team of underdogs to the glittering prize. If you’re thinking it all sounds almost exactly like Vaughn’s previous film Dodgeball…you’d be right.

We’ve even got pantomime villain Max Minghella who plays a rival intern gunning for our heroes. Somewhat inevitably the underdogs, through a mixture of tenacity, gumption, dedication, desire, innovation and a horribly contrived script, triumph over adversity and secure the much coveted jobs in what is surely the best building in the world at what is surely the greatest company in the world. Ever.

Vaughn and Wilson have done much better films together and The Internship will not go down as a distinguished entry in the oeuvre of either actor. Any film involving this particular pair will always come with a high bromance rating, but this time around the comedy rating flatlines a little too often and most of the time you’re left wondering how true to life the working practices at Google are rather than concentrating on the story.

Suffice to say, I was more than a little grateful when eventually the two hours of Google propaganda came to an end. Yahoo!