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Film review: The Internship The Google-crashers

Philip Cu-Unjieng (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - After the box-office success of The Wedding Crashers, one knew it would only be a matter of time before Hollywood would dutifully reprise the unique chemistry between Fratpack members Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

Directed by Shawn Levy (who brought us the Night at the Museum films and Real Steel), and with a screenplay co-written by Vince and Jared Stern, The Internship once again portrays the amiable duo as “bulls in a china shop.” This time out, as over-the-hill, obsolete watch salesmen forced to accept it’s the digital age, where everything is happening online. And how better to represent this, than to have the two apply for the internship program at Google HQ in San Francisco, where they’re being pitted against the barely out of their teens geeks of the world.

The clash between the “old-school” attitude of Billy (Vince) and Nick (Owen), and the techie language of the kids is ripe fodder for the comedy that’s dished out. The geeks reference Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, X-Men and Star Wars, among other cultural signposts, while Billy goes to Flashdance for inspiration. There is a romantic angle, and yes, Owen provides this, with Dana (the charming Rose Byrne), a Google senior manager, who’s a workaholic. She sees Nick as the epitome of all the bad dates she missed out on over the years, thanks to her obsessive work ethic. There are cameos by other Fratpack members, and John Goodman, as the owner of the defunct watch distribution company. The kids who team up with our duo, and those competing for the openings, along with the Google HR managers conducting the internship program provide the texture to this film. And there are walk-on’s by director Shawn (he’s the one complaining when Nick chats up Dana in the pod rest chamber), and Google co-founder Sergey Brin (riding a bicycle in the opening shot of Google HQ).

Most of the critics abroad were scathing, calling the film the longest advert for Google, and one even called it the Best Comedy of 2005. So yes, the dated Google connection is overly prominent, and the comedic set pieces are somewhat clichéd. But if one isn’t expecting some comedic masterpiece, the film does carry a shaggy-dog charm.

I watched it with my boys, and Luca, my 14-year-old, was chuckling and laughing throughout the film — helping me enjoy it. The plot line is predictable, as we know this will be one of those against-all-odds, fish-out-of-water-triumph films; but getting to that point is littered with decent one-liners, and there is no denying the chemistry of Vince and Owen. Look out for the Fratpack cameos I mentioned, they are among the best parts of the film.

BEST COMEDY FRATPACK GAME OF THRONES GOOGLE HARRY POTTER JOHN GOODMAN OWEN REAL STEEL ROSE BYRNE SAN FRANCISCO
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