Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are Hilarious in the Winning Crowd-Pleaser ‘The Internship’ (4/5 stars)
The Onion released a funny video calling The Internship the Best Film of 2005, a joke that the stars and the premise of the film don’t exactly feel timely. It’s true that nobody in 2005 expected it would be nearly a decade for the stars of Wedding Crashers to reteam. But Vince Vaughn purposefully branched from the Stiller/Wilson branch of the Frat Pack and did his own thing for many years. And in those years Vaughn did his own thing very well, with hit after hit (with only Fred Claus disappointing).
But the wheels came off the Vaughnwagon with 2011’s The Dilemma. Aside from the controversy over the film’s signature catch-phrase, “Electric cars are gay,” you’d be hard-pressed to note a single memorable moment. Moreover, this was the first time in a long time when Vaughn wasn’t surrounded by Frat Pack stars or his Wild West Comedy Show buddies like Jon Favreau or Jason Bateman. Costar Kevin James seemed like a good match (short, fat, slow) for Vaughn (tall, quick), but the best thing The Dilemma did was prove is that there’s one thing you can’t buy with all the money in the world and that thing is chemistry. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James most certainly didn’t have it.
Which explains Vaughn’s decision to reteam with his 2004-2005 comedy partners. First up was last year’s under-appreciated The Watch and today we have the high-profile release of Vaughn’s second costarring role opposite Owen Wilson. Important to note, though is that this isn’t a guns-for-hire project for Vaughn. He is a producer and creator of the story revolving around two “old school” salesman who lose their jobs and improbably find themselves as interns at Google. The Internship opens this weekend.
If you’re reading these words you surely have seen the trailers for The Internship. And if you’re anything like the audiences at theaters I’ve visited, you probably didn’t love the trailer. But, friends, I am here to tell you that The Internship is a really good movie that’s at time hilarious and at others delivering true emotions. There are many similarities to Wedding Crashers, such as the dynamic between the two leads. Vaughn plays Billy, who’s more of an idea man but also prone to skipping the attention to details. Wilson plays Nick who is more grounded and responsible, and who also has the primary romantic subplot. In other words, “John and Jeremy 2.0″.
Thankfully, most of the “guys who don’t understand the internet” jokes are present in the trailer, leaving plenty of laughs elsewhere. There’s a hilarious set-up scene set to Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic” that had me howling. The humor is PG-13 so not as rauchy as Wedding Crashers or even The Watch, but still the Wilson-Vaughn comedic timing had me laughing throughout the film.
The Google plot is enjoyable and the “misfits” that are on Nick and Billy’s internship team are interesting and each have their own moments too. There’s a cocky Google manager named Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi) who’s fun and has his own story arc, as well as a rival team leader played Max Minghella with douchey gusto. Rose Bryne plays a Google manager who flirts with Wilson’s character and herself has an interesting back story. The idea of salesman getting a gig at Google seems far-fetched, yet as a company that makes nearly all of it’s revenue from advertising there’s certainly a need for a sales staff at the Silicon Valley firm. The payoff at the end of the film is a believable (but still rose-colored for those of us who follow Google) and is a crowd-pleaser. Less believable is Georgia masquerading as Silicon Valley, but the location shots in San Francisco and at Stanford University at least are authentic. Director Shawn Levy keeps things moving along at a steady pace.
As with Wedding Crashers, Will Ferrell appears in a cameo role as Nick’s brother-in-law. It’s not as central to the plot as Ferrell’s role in Wedding Crashers, nor is the role as instantly quotable. But it nonetheless is a funny five minutes near the beginning of the movie and adds more than a little bit to the overall enjoyment of the film. There’s also another cameo from a face familiar to Frat Pack fans, but I won’t spoil who.
So, Vince Vaughn, welcome back to Fratville. We’ve missed you but welcome you back with open arms and many many laughs. The Internship is a winner and significantly more substantial emotionally and humorously than the ads might indicate.