Yep, it’s that Google movie that flopped in the States. You’ve probably smelt the stench already and, to be fair, things don’t open well. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are a couple of salesmen dumped on the jobs market after their watch-flogging business goes down the pan. It’s either the dole or dead-end jobs flogging mattresses… until Vaughn gets them onto a Google recruitment programme.
A ridiculously brutal and arbitrary recruitment programme it is too, but this isn’t The Social Network: it’s Revenge Of The Nerds. Vaughn and Wilson rock up to the Googleplex like it’s the first day of college and soon find their Luddite pitching techniques at odds with their younger, tech-savvy, job-hungry peers.
Google didn’t pay anything to get into this movie, but my God do they get some advertising space. The constant flogging of the brand and vaunting of its hip credentials drag it into Mac And Me territory. The whole thing’s 10 years out of date: harking back to a time when Google was the ethical future of corporate America, not the too-slick sales exec you wouldn’t trust with your laptop we now know it to be. It is, by Google CEO Larry Page’s own admission, a two-hour exercise at brand rehabilitation.
But if you can sit through the sales pitch, you get to the free café – and there are bagels. When it moves away from Google HQ, The Internship shows itself to be a kind and uplifting film. It’s heartening to see a movie that says the geeky guy can get the girl, that being a virgin doesn’t matter, and that competitive people are dicks.
Sure, occasionally it comes across as advice from a well-meaning uncle – full of unflattering assumptions about the digital generation – but that’s part of the charm. It recognises the old can learn just as much from the young: that enthusiasm and optimism aren’t naÏve, and that you shouldn’t dismiss, or be scared of, change.
Vaughn’s the man who made Swingers. This isn’t anywhere near that level, but the talent’s there. Between them, he and Wilson make something from the grains of worth in the film: they can find the truth in lines as crappy as “there are still some dreams out there, you’ve just got to reach out and grab them”.
The original story’s Vaughn’s and you get the impression he meant this movie to be as much for his own generation as the kids. Once you get past the advertising, the Internship is kind, encouraging and fond.
They also throw out this gem: “Everybody’s searching for something.” My God they’ve got some balls.
The Internship is released in the UK on the 4th of July