Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
Is Google a product placed in “The Internship”? Or is this embarrassing comedy that gushes “Googliness” on an embed with Google, Inc.? Traditional product placement takes a Möbius twist. The decor, dialect and dress code may track, but there’s no trace of corporate cool anywhere else in the film’s design–except for cute end-credits. Shawn Levy (“Real Steel,” “Night at the Museum”) directs a trite screenplay by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern (“The Watch”) that re-teams Vaughn with Owen Wilson as in “Wedding Crashers” (2005). “The Internship” opens with “wedding day” lyrics from Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” as Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) drive to their last appointment as Chronoshock wristwatch salesmen. With “The Dumbest Generation” on his bookshelf, Billy googles: “jobs for people with few skills.” Fast talk lands them a summer internship at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, as recreated on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. Obviously out of place among all the college kids, Billy and Nick get teamed with four interns who are just as unpopular with their peers. They must compete with other teams of interns to win employment at Google. The unoriginal triumph-of-misfits plot employs the usual non-conformists who repair esteem-impaired youngsters so these underdogs can beat the mean team. Wearing a “Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers” t-shirt, Billy riffs on “Flashdance” (1983) for motivational mentoring. Tequila shots at a pole-dancer bar is a rite of passage for the “Noogle” nerds. There is a minor variant on “Wedding Crashers,” where the jabbery duo made a living as divorce mediators: instead of Owen’s character falling into a funk and abandoning his buddy, this time it’s Vaughn’s character who fails and bails. With Josh Brener, Rose Byrne, Dylan O’Brien, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael, Josh Gad, John Goodman, Will Ferrell and 1994’s Miss Illinois as a “tiger mom.” 119m. (Bill Stamets)
“The Internship” begins Friday.