Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, the comedy dream team, are back to bring laughter to audiences once more in the spiritual successor to The Wedding Crashers. You know what they say about too much of a good thing, well in the case of The Internship it was once a not awful thing, and has gone into a teeth-grindingly terrible thing. Shawn Levy’s not a director known for making the best of the comedy genre, his previous outings include two Night At The Museum films and Date Night, and add to that Vince Vaughn, who co-writes the screenplay here too, who has been on a real downhill slope since Dodgeball nine years ago, it’s little to no surprise to notice how incredibly awful, tedious and unfunny The Internship is.
What places it lower than most of Vaughn and Levy’s previous comedies, however, is the fact that at its core The Internship is just product placement for Google, the employer and the company, all lovingly shown, rarely sent up in any fashion that wouldn’t be signed off by a board of executives prior. It is shameless in this approach, to the point of being sickening, as cinema the art form loses itself for money more than ever. The Internship also being two hours long does nothing but prolong the suffering of this advertisement, too.
A decade ago, Vince Vaughn had a few real cracking films that he was fortunate to be involved in, Old School and Dodgeball, both of which were underdog stories and worked. What Vaughn didn’t take away from these films is that the underdogs have to be likeable, interesting and engaging. What The Internship does is make one of the underdogs Vince Vaughn. Any way you shake that, it’s impossible to find him amusing as he just talks and talks and talks and talks until your mind begins to rot. To make ends meet, narratively, anyone who isn’t on the ‘good team’ is heightened in the shape of being evil, notably Max Minghella, who chews scenery at every moment he can, but it doesn’t make him an entertaining baddie, just another loud, obnoxious character that isn’t anything more than hateful.
Hateful is a lot of The Internship’s comedy. Trey Parker and Matt Stone once said they were, in terms of South Park, “equal opportunity offenders”, which can work at times, especially when there’s a real heart of brain to the offensive elements. The Internship flies around every possible sub-culture, the middle aged, the young, the old, the nerdy, the geeky, the intelligent, the overweight, the females, and mocks them mercilessly, but there’s a real mean streak in its derisive laughs, and nothing more than “Oh, I bet those people would like that, let’s make them say that” in the creative process. All nerds would play Quidditch, and only the nerdy, geeky type characters would discuss Game Of Thrones, HBO’s biggest product of the past few years. Whilst it’s written that Vaughn and Wilson’s almost 40-year-old duo get as much as Vaughn gives, it seems like it’s mostly about Vaughn finding things to say against everyone else. To put it simply, the comedy in The Internship is mean and vile.
Unfortunately there’s nothing that makes it out completely unscathed in The Internship. Wilson’s usually charming persona is barely on-screen, and mostly overtaken by Vaughn talking and talking and talking, while Rose Byrne is but a cameo as a mere love interest. Aasif Mandvi’s Internship leader is the straight man for Vaughn to bounce off of, and the team that Vaughn and Wilson work with are all one-note characters that make it impossible for their actors to register at all.
The Internship is a horrible piece of cinema, soulless, shameless and devoid of anything remotely artistic, entertaining or interesting. If ever there was a film to avoid this year, make it this.