The Internship

Directed By: Shawn Levy

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Max Minghella, JoAnna Garcia, John Goodman, Josh Brener, Tobit Raphael, Dylan O'Brien, Tiya Sircar, Aasif Mandvi, and Will Ferrell

If The Hangover Part III proved anything, it proved that it's time for the Wolfpack to step aside.  With this in mind, I have some good news.  The Frat Pack is back!  Later this year, Vince Vaughn will be starring in The Delivery Man, an English language remake of the Canadian comedy Starbuck.  Ben Stiller is releasing a remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Steve Carell will even be getting in on the action with indie comedy The Way, Way Back.  It all will culminate at the end of the year with Will Ferrell leading the pack in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.  Before we get there though, we've got Wedding Crashers co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson teaming up again and tackling the "on the line" world in The Internship.

Billy and Nick (Vaughn and Wilson) are salesmen who essentially serve as the middlemen between manufacturers and resources.  They've been in this line of work for a long time and are very good at what they do.  Unfortunately for them, their job is an obsolete way of doing things given modern technological innovations.  They're dinosaurs.  When their boss (John Goodman) tells them in the worst possible way that the company is closing, Billy and Nick find themselves at a crossroads in their careers.  Billy ends up losing his house and his girlfriend, while Nick swallows his pride and takes a job working for his sister's boyfriend (Will Ferrell) at a mattress store.  While surfing the web for potential job listings, Billy comes across an internship at Google for rising college seniors.  Latching onto a new dream, he enrolls himself and Nick at the University of Phoenix and submits applications for the two of them. 

Billy and Nick land an interview with some "googlers".  During this interview, they're given a case question about what happens to two nickels sitting at the bottom of a blender when it's turned on.  After giving one of the most bizarre yet inspirational answers to an interview question ever, they somehow end up getting an offer to join Google for the summer.  There, they will compete in teams for highly prized full-time positions.  Early in the program, the interns are allowed to mingle and form groups.  Not possessing any particularly valuable skills, Billy and Nick end up teaming with several other leftover "nooglers" (Tobit Raphael, Dylan O'Brien, and Tiya Sircar) with team leader Lile (Josh Brener).  To win the job offers, this motley crew is going to have to take down their pretentious fellow intern Graham (Max Minghella) in a series of mental hunger games.  Meanwhile, Nick takes an interest in an attractive Google executive (Rose Byrne).

With all the free food, nap pods, and driverless cars, I'll be the first to say that The Internship is one giant product placement for the mighty Google.  Highlighting the distinct corporate culture of this workplace, the movie certainly has its fair share of "googliness".  That being said, there's nothing better than watching two veteran comedians do what they do best, especially when they're delivering an indirect sequel to Wedding Crashers.  Vaughn and Wilson are now the old guys at the party, but who cares?  They're playing to their strengths, and there's nothing wrong with that despite the fact that the Frat Pack isn't getting any younger.  They've still got the juice and keep the laughs coming throughout this two-hour comedy. 

As Billy and Nick, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson capture that same energetic, comedic chemistry they had in Wedding Crashers some eight years ago.  In a movie where they're trying to thrive in the fast-paced corporate culture of today, they're absolutely perfect.  For his part as Billy, Vaughn is hilariously obsessed with the perks at Google and has solid chemistry with Aasif Mandvi's hard-nosed Mr. Chetty.  It's hard not to enjoy his inspirational speeches as well.  As Nick, Owen Wilson is that garrulous charmer we know and love chasing after a hot Google executive portrayed by Rose Byrne more than his dreams of meaningful employment.  Together, they give us pure hilarity.  In Wedding Crashers tradition, their good friend Will Ferrell also drops in early in the movie and delivers big laughs.

With Vaughn and Wilson's characters being immersed in a younger, nerdier corporate environment, they get exposed to a healthy dose of pop culture.  Obviously, there are plenty of Harry Potter references given the highly advertised Quidditch matchup.  However, they hit Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and a host of other movies and shows we know and love.  To counter what seemingly overwhelms these two middle-aged jokesters, they throw out tons of references to 80s movies like Flashdance.  While this all adds to The Internship in what could be considered a saccharine way, it is more importantly pure comedic gold.

Beyond Vaughn and Wilson, we have plenty of other hilarious cast members.  Each of their teammates delivers comedy in their own unique way.  Josh Brener's Lile tries too hard to be the team's cool leader, but that works out comically for us.  Dylan O'Brien and Tiya Sircar play off each other well as snarky twenty-somethings with plenty to say about each other.  The funniest supporting cast member of all has to be the home-schooled Asian Yo-Yo portrayed by Tobit Raphael.  This kid had me crying from laughter as he breaks out of the shell to which his mother has confined him during his strict upbringing.

Aside from all the comedy and surprisingly high number of nerd references, the most impressive thing about The Internship is that it covers issues relevant in our society today.  Middle-aged dinosaurs Billy and Nick are unemployed and unemployable.  The skills they've acquired throughout their careers are no longer valuable in a world where machines can do exactly the same thing faster and better.  Their 21 year-old teammates are in no better position.  They've spent all their years acquiring the skills necessary to compete in today's job market.  Still, they can't get jobs because they're the norm, not the exception, and employers are hiring a fraction of the college graduates equipped with the skills necessary to succeed today.  Despite the fact that The Internship is the best kind of sugary comedy that's all about reaching out for your dreams, it does hit home in a very real way about the harsh realities of the current job market.

I have no hesitation in declaring The Internship the feel-good comedy of the summer.  It's an earnest comedy with a story and a point, something we don't get too often in an era where party movies dominate the comedic landscape.  Director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) hammers home the point that the world is not just about making information available.  It's about connecting people with the information they want and need.  All in all, the Frat Pack has gone back to formula in this winning comedy.  The Internship gets a 0.03% rating.  Look up from those tiny screens on your smartphones and tablets and have a few wine coolers with this one.