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'The Internship': What the Critics Are Saying

The Internship Vaughn Wilson On Bikes - H 2013
Twentieth Century Fox
"The Internship"

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson attempt to re-create their "Wedding Crashers" magic -- but critics seem largely unimpressed.

It’s been eight years since Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson broke the box office with their R-rated romp, Wedding Crashers. With today’s release of The Internship, they hope to strike charismatic gold once again.

Still playing men who are adults only by age, Vaughn and Wilson are designer-watch salesmen who find themselves unemployed and facing foreclosure. Out of options, they negotiate their way (via a memorable Skype interview) into an internship with Google, where they are pitted against twenty-somethings for a salaried position post-internship.

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The film is directed by Shawn Levy, best known for the Night at the Museum films and Date Night. Vaughn co-wrote the script with Jared Stern. Google also cooperated throughout production. 

Critical reception has been largely negative, if not lukewarm. Despite the film’s missteps, Vaughn and Wilson’s chemistry is a consistent note of redemption. Read what some of the critics had to say below.

The Hollywood Reporters Stephen Farber says that while a light -- albeit predictable -- comedy, The Internship falls flat where Google’s influence was perhaps too heavy-handed.

“There are a lot of good comic possibilities lurking in Shawn Levy’s new movie, The Internship, but most of them never quite break the surface of this mild, occasionally likable romp that plays more like a love letter to Google … The message is unobjectionable, but the storytelling is unimaginative.”

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times shares the sentiment, criticizing the corporate synergy the comedy promotes and puts into practice.

“The name Google, surprise, appears in almost every scene in every conceivable cutesy, slangy permutation (noun, verb, adjective) in what sounds like every other line of dialogue. That the studio releasing this feature-length ad, 20th Century Fox, would lend its brand to another branded behemoth like this is vulgar if not shocking, especially given how numbers-driven studios have become.”

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The New York Daily NewsJoe Neumaier gave the film one-of-five stars. He is blunt in his distaste for Levy’s latest.

“Who let an unfunny, irritatingly acted two-hour commercial for Google onto multiplex screens?”

The L.A. TimesBetsy Sharkey says that though “it’s a one-liner forged into a two-hour joke,” Vaughn and Wilson still turn in some fine PG-13 banter.

“Raunchy or not, naughty or nice, with Vaughn and Wilson, it’s never so much what is said but how they say it. If you liked the relationship and the repartee they had going in Wedding Crashers, that chemistry is very much there defining and driving The Internship, just dialed down a few notches.”

The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney gave the film two stars. She says that the back-and-forth between the film’s leads is not the only thing stirring some deja vu.

“A Vaughn motivational speech that derives its inspiration from the movie Flashdance easily could have been copied and pasted from an unused page of the Dodgeball screenplay. And the whole notion of these arrested adolescents helping college kids come of age smacks a bit heavily of Old School, the movie that first paired Vaughn with a Wilson (in that case, Luke). Some of these set pieces may coax out a chuckle, but none of them surprise.”

Some critics latched onto The Internship as a meager attempt to bridge the gap between tech-savvy millennials and their tech-illiterate parents.

Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri says that for all its slapstick, low-brow humor, the film carries an underlying commentary that deserved to be in the spotlight.

“Occasionally, a bit of realism peeks through: There’s genuine pathos to Vaughn’s portrayal of a guy who has the social skills to sell anything but finds himself out of step with the compulsive, tech-savvy world around him. You wish the film would do more with that, but, well, you’re looking in the wrong movie for true character development.”

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a mildly positive review, grading it with a solid B. He says that while the film has a poignant message about the Internet age, it fails when it counts: the laughs.

“A lot of the film is devoted to showing how the cult of technology and the human element don’t need to be opposed; they can, and should, work hand in hand. That’s a nice message (and it’s certainly a swell advertisement for Google), but it’s not a funny message. The Internship gets so caught up in healing the generational divide that it’s ostensibly about -- the analog dudes vs. the digital kids -- that the movie ends up being just a pleasant collection of mild laughs.”

The Internship opens Friday, June 7.