Natalie Stendall film review: The Internship

Vince Vaughn writes, produces and performs in this post-recession job-hunt comedy.

Middle-aged sales duo Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) lose their jobs as watch salesmen and use their gift of the gab to get ‘an interview for an internship that might lead to a job’ at Google. Bringing their people skills to the tech savvy world this enthusiastic pairing must compete in a ‘sort of mental Hunger Games against a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs’ - enter a profusion of gags about age and nerdiness.

The Internship is the best Vince Vaughn comedy in recent years despite its tendency to feel like an advert for Google - free food, nap pods and hardworking employees who passionately believe Google is ‘doing good work’ are glaring. No mention of tax avoidance here then - not even a single gag about it. Primary colour overload kicks in at about the mid-point and, this being a two hour movie, the constant Googliness can be hard to bear.

Instead, The Internship is carried by the endearing performances of Vaughn and Wilson. In all their failure and dejection, their characters, Billy and Nick, remain hopeful and enthusiastic - the perfect underdogs. Yet, while the assortment of nerds that our long shots are teamed with provide plenty of laughs, they are are too stereotypical for The Internship to be labelled anything like original comedy. Of course, there’s also the necessary villain - the British Graham (Max Minghella) from an opposing internship team - but his spiteful, cruel actions are too obvious for laughs. Meanwhile, Will Ferrell makes a neat cameo appearance as Nick’s sleazy brother-in-law with a curious Sanskrit tattoo of ‘make reasonable choices’ emblazoned on his neck.

The Internship’s strengths play on the optimistic middle-aged quality of the leads. Opening on a priceless in car sing-along to Billy’s get psyched mix featuring Alanis Morissette’s Ironic, The Internship will appeal to thirty-something movie fans. Using pop-culture as an ongoing age marker, The Internship is packed with movie references from 1980’s Flash Dance, The Fly and Back To The Future to X-Men and Harry Potter. Unfortunately laughs are concentrated in the film’s first half as Billy and Nick wrestle with their uncertain futures, while The Internship loses some of its truthfulness as it slips into saccharine life lessons and a bumbling conclusion.

Sharp satire this is not, but there are some great flashes of comedy - including an unforgettable web cam interview - and plenty of laughs to be had in this middle-aged bromance comedy. Googliness aside, The Internship is the best Vince Vaughn comedy in years with premium performances from both Wilson and Vaughn himself.

Certificate: 12A

Running Time: 119 minutes

Verdict: 3/5