Every film critic/reviewer has a soft spot in his heart for movies like Shawn Levy’s “The Internship.” It’s like a vacation from the work of having to sit up and pay attention to the detail in serious, important films. “The Internship” is the movie version of bowling. There’s nothing to think about. You get the right shoes, the rules are set in concrete, you have beer and pizza while watching the smart-ass guys make all the gutter balls. It’s just fun. “The Internship” is fun … kind of.

The story is thinner than Anne Hathaway and full of corny, stale attempts at hip humor, but star Vince Vaughn tries so hard, and the kids are all so good, you have to give them a break. Basically, it’s a movie for the smartphoners who have run out of reruns of … “Big Bang Theory.”

Here’s what you need to know: Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are back together again after having exhausted weddings to crash. If you loved that con game, you’ll give this a pass, after all, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Hope and Crosby set this game in motion, and now they’re legends. Okay, that’s a stretch.

This time, these wild and crazy guys are salesmen for a big, bloated con artist (the always welcome John Goodman) who has them out on the road, selling expensive wristwatches. At a sales dinner, they find out that Goodman has folded the business without telling them.

Goodman dismisses them with “You guys are dinosaurs now, nobody wears watches anymore. You ask a kids for the time, and they pull out their smartphones.” He’s right. I tried it out eight times. He’s right.

Billy and Nick were having a good life, wining and dining department store execs and retail clerks. But it’s 2013 and the good life that was rolling has rolled over them.


Billy comes up with a scheme to rescue them. They apply for internships on the utopian planet of Google (shot on the campus of Georgia Tech) where everything is free, bicycles, bed and board, food and drink, and love, if you can find it.

Vaughn enrolls them in an online (which Vaughn keeps calling “on the line”) university for credits, and then they Skype an interview, which they ace with a line of B.S.

Once in, we get a full-course tour of the Google campus run by an ice-cold martinet (an ice cold Aasif Mandvi without one joke to his name) who takes the hopefuls on a “Survivor” ride through the computer jungle.”

All of the hundred or so hungry applicants are split up into teams before the five or six games are started: coming up with an app, writing a code, getting a sponsor, etc.

Look familiar? Yes, it’s junior high, all the cool kids team up leaving the losers, our boys included, in a kind of new age “The Dirty Dozen” or “The Breakfast Club” group.

The losers are naturally the nicest kids. Vaughn and Wilson, Jessica Szohr, Dylan O’Brien,Tiya Sircar and an Asian boy with an eyebrow plucking habit, Tobit Raphael are not only feeling lonely and abandoned, but confused by the 1980’s hoked up parables spewed by two aging con salesmen who keep trying to stoke them up with bits from “Flashdance.”


The bad kids are really bad, led by a nasty, smarmy piece of work (Max Minghella) who never misses a chance to cheat.

Naturally there has to be a romance, and as Vaughn has to keep busy coming up with survival ideas to keep his team in the game, the kissing cup goes to Owen Wilson, who nose-whines his way into convincing one of the officials (Rose Byrne) that they are meant to be. In real life, we suspect that Rose would not even go to an office picnic with Wilson. Hey, they couldn’t get Clooney, okay?

There are some gifts: Will Ferrell pops up as a crass, soulless womanizing mattress salesman, and Julia Roberts does not make an appearance, even though she would have been a welcome cameo. Did I say that out loud?

You will not be surprised to know that Vince Vaughn wrote the script, and is one of the producers. Hey! Every boy has to have a hobby. Let’s all go on Facebook and ask them to like a sequel to “Wedding Crashers.”

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.

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