Friday, June 7, 2013

Could <i>The Internship</i> Actually Be Funny?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM

The Internship movie Vince Vaughn Owen Wilson Google
The Internship: Vince Vaughn, like his colleague in the slide to CBS-sitcom laziness Adam Sandler, loves the 80s—that much seems clear from the slobs-versus-snobs aesthetic of movies like Dodgeball and the monologue he rattles off about Flashdance in the trailer for The Internship. So I guess it's appropriate that while The Internship appears, if anything, too far into the future—eight years removed from the Vaughn/Wilson team-up Wedding Crashers—its trailer feels like it's gone backward, like it's the 80s-style slobs-versus-snobs version of that previous hit. It also looks like a PG-13 knockoff of an R-rated romp, which I guess it technically is. I don't consider Wedding Crashers a sacred text by any means; Vaughn and Wilson are very funny in it, as is Isla Fisher, as is Will Ferrell in that mordant funeral-crashing cameo, but the movie's actual screenplay gets mired in a lot of bad dude stuff: scenes where an old lady is supposed to be hilarious because she says something vulgar, or a young man is supposed to be hilarious because he's gay. Encapsulating that movie's star-driven success: the gay guy, Todd, is obsessed with Vaughn's character and does a massive panting of him that's supposed to be creepy… not that funny. But Vaughn's eventual reaction to the demand that he return the painting (Nonchalantly: "The painting was a gift, Todd. I'm taking it with me.") is very funny.

There's no reason The Internship couldn't traffic in some of that personality-driven inspiration beneath its rote-looking tale of "old school" salesmen who compete for an internship at Google to revitalize their careers. But it's hard to hope for the best when I keep getting distracted by what I see in the trailer. Like: are Vaughn and Wilson affecting some Billy Crystal thing regarding their Internet-ignorance? I mean, they're only in their 40s. It's been around for half their lifetimes at this point. And plus: does that gag about the Google manager disapproving of grabbing a beer with your boss ring false to anyone else? Don't Google bosses seem totally likely to grab a beer with employees? I've been to the Google offices; they don't seem like a company that discourages socialization with your supervisors. Is he objecting because he only wants his employees drinking the beer provided in the office? Confusing!

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