Considering that the last time Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson got together, they were starring in the hilarious and brilliant Wedding Crashers, I was very optimistic about their latest film, The Internship. The duo are comedy gold. However, it seems that even they have their limits. In a film surrounded by cliché plots, cliché characters, and jokes which revolve around an Asian kid plucking his eyebrows off, the witty banter between Wilson and Vaughn is lost, and what should have been an enjoyable, hilarious reunion becomes a tiresome, predictable mess.
Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) lose their jobs as salesmen after their company goes bust. Desperate for new jobs, they apply for an internship at Google, which they get due to their deviation from the other candidates. They are then put in a team with a careless phone addict, a home-schooled mother-beaten wreck, and a cosplaying nerd-kink enthusiast, with whom they must complete challenges, such as creating an app and playing Quidditch. Only the winning team will get hired by Google, resulting in some serious competition with fellow intern, Graham (Max Minghella), who constantly antagonises Billy and Nick for no apparent reason.
I think the real problem with this film is that it tries too hard to be like Wedding Crashers: two men who are good at what they do get thrown out of their depth; they try to fit in by lying; someone takes a serious dislike to them; they meet crazy people who are personified by their interests; Owen Wilson has an on-the-side romance; there is a small problem, resulting in a momentary lack of faith and split between Wilson and Vaughn… etc, etc. They even have a brief cameo from Will Ferrell.
The film does have its enjoyable moments though. It’s always amusing to see Vaughn rambling on at a fast pace while other characters stare at him with confusion, and Wilson is as charming and witty as ever. There are times when the film makes you laugh. The trouble is that these times are not very memorable. The film lacks the outrageous humour that Vaughn and Wilson pull off so well, and has made their other films so enjoyable.
The lack of comedy is surprising, especially since the film was written by Vaughn, and directed by Shawn Levy, who has classic comedies Cheaper by the Dozen and Night at the Museum under his belt. However, the main crux of the problem could come from the fact that the supporting characters are not up to Vaughn and Wilson’s standards, and a lot of their jokes come off as awkward instead of outrageous.
The award for the most cringe-worthy character definitely goes to Graham, who is meant to be the antagonist. His lines are cheesy, and delivered with a BBC-worthy British accent, just to make sure the audience knows he’s evil. His character is not at all realistic, acting more like a grade-school bully than an 21-year-old intern, and makes the entire plot feel more like a farce.
Overall, The Internship is not a bad film, but it is certainly not a good one either. It won’t become a re-watched classic like Wedding Crashers, and will not even remain in the minds of people who watch it after they leave the cinema. This is the sort of low-quality movie that I expect from someone who’s trying to build a career, but seeing it come from someone as well-established as Vaughn is just tragic. He may be a brilliant actor, but even that can only get a film so far.
The Internship (2013), directed by Shawn Levy, is distributed in the UK by 20th Century Fox, Certificate 12A.