REVIEW: The Internship

26 07 2013

Strangely enough, the best moment of “The Internship” was not a big laugh; it was a dramatic exchange of dialogue.  While such moments in comedic films are often clichéd and forced, this one really hit the money.

As Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s imbecillic man-children talk a bunch of bull, their much younger intern teammates set them straight by explaining to them how much is riding on this summer gig.  In a particularly haunting line, one of them declares that the American Dream is virtually dead to their generation.

As someone who has suffered through / paid my dues at / enjoyed a number of internships myself, this scene hit very close to home.  But if I wanted to be slightly depressed about my future, I would have just watched “Frances Ha” or the second season of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” again.  I came to “The Internship” to be entertained, and I left rather disappointed by its (hopefully unintentional) humorlessness.

Though I’m not a huge  fan of Wilson and Vaughn’s last collaboration, 2005’s “Wedding Crashers,” I certainly did not expect their comedic prowess to depreciate to the point where I only let out a few mild giggles over the course of two hours.  Just about every gag falls short, although none ever hit cringe-worthy levels.

“The Internship” is, more or less, a retooling of the “Legally Blonde” story for modern men.  Unhappy in their current position, Billy and Nick drastically change career paths and head to an internship at Google.  While initially their foreignness to the field makes them obvious neophytes, they take some hard knocks that force them to grow.  Yet in the end, it’s those undervalued skills they entered with that allow them to achieve success.

I enjoy a movie like “Legally Blonde” because Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods is an inspiring figure, learning that she is capable of things she never imagined simply by trusting her own intuitions and wiles.  I find “The Internship” more than a little sad when it declares with no detectable sense of irony that we too can get an entry level position like Billy and Nick in our forties, so long as we work hard and can fall back on basic skills.  Though perhaps for that very reason, Shawn Levy has made an emblematic film of our wretched economy in post-recessional America.  C2stars

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