Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE INTERNSHIP: A Trip to Googleplex

August 15, 2013

"The Internship" is a story about Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, two watch salesmen in their 40s who lose their jobs because their boss suddenly decides to shut down their dwindling business. Out of desperation, they try out and (inexplicably) get accepted into the coveted internship program at Google. 

As the obvious outcasts among the much younger computer geek majority, the two guys struggle with their group of other misfits to snag those elusive job slots over all the other candidates.

The story of misfits trying to fit into an establishment and succeed is so familiar. This story was just recently tackled in animated form in Pixar's "Monsters University." This movie follows that tried and true formula to the letter, from being put down hard at the start to winning big at the end against all odds.

Here though, the setting just shifted from a university campus to the Google Headquarters in California, and that was THE one interesting aspect of this film. If those were the real perks of actual Google staff (unlimited free food, nap pods, etc.), then we would all like to work there! Many people criticize this film for being a big 2-hour advertisement for the Google Corporation. However, without this innovative setting, the rest of the film would just not stand up.

A lot is riding on the comedic talents and good will of the two main stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (who had previously paired up in the very successful "Wedding Crashers"). They are credible as good guys, yes, and they have good chemistry together as Billy and Nick. However, sadly for me, they could not rise above the mediocre material they had to contend with. Their jabbering sales pitches frequently come across as annoying rather than charming. I would not buy anything from loud and smart-alecky salesmen like them.

An interesting detail for the Filipino audience is the presence of a Fil-Am character named Yo-Yo Santos, played by Fil-Am actor Tobit Raphael. A sheltered kid home-schooled by a domineering mom, Yo-Yo is one of misfits who was forced to team up with Billy and Nick. Tobit did well enough for his first big role in a major movie, although his part is memorable only for nervously picking his eyebrows and an "impressive recovery time" during their wild night at a bar with sexy ladies.

Overall, you get an uneven film. Only the setting is original, but mostly, this is just an average garden-variety feel-good comedy, with some raunchy scenes. You will smile more than laugh out loud. Nevertheless, the final outcome can still spark a happy feeling, however predictable it may be.  5/10.

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