By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Wedding Crashers are now crashing Google.
That’s pretty much the premise and attraction of The Internship, an amiable workplace comedy that reunites Wedding Crashers co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in what is essentially a spiritual PG-13 sequel to its raunchy, R-rated predecessor.
Whatever else The Internship is, it is also an immediate entry in the Product Placement Hall of Fame: this is an unabashed two-hour ain’t-this-place-grand commercial for Google.
That said, however, it’s enjoyably entertaining in spite of itself.
Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, fortysomething wristwatch salesmen who find themselves unemployed, courtesy of boss John Goodman, when their company goes under, thanks to the obsolescence of watches in the cell-phone era.
But they (sort of) enroll in an online university and manage to talk themselves into highly coveted summer internships at the Internet giant Google, in Silicon Valley, California, where they find themselves not only a generation older than the brainiac millennials they must work with but a lot less tech-savvy.
And this is whom Billy and Nick must compete with for a shot at full-time employment.
Although Billy and Nick lack the skills of their younger colleagues, that may have something to convey about teamwork and the importance of social skills, even in the always-looking-at-a-screen digital age.
Vaughn and Wilson, so winning in 2005’s Wedding Crashers, once again demonstrate a strong comedic chemistry with their reliably colorful, semi-improvisational banter and add to it the rooting interest of underdog buddies.
Director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Date Night, Real Steel, The Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen) demonstrates a reach that barely exceeds his grasp, playing it safe and bland but at least achieving an undeniably pleasant if unexciting watchability.
The word “Google” and its infinite variations couldn’t possibly have turned up in the script any more often. But at least it’s thoroughly and organically integrated into the narrative as if it were an artistic choice.
So it’s as if the search-engine company is the first among equals as a supporting player, along with Rose Byrne as the romantic interest, Max Minghella as the good guys’ obnoxious rival and competition, and Will Ferrell, who stops by for a funny cameo just as he did in Wedding Crashers, but this time at the beginning of the film rather than near the end.
Vaughn co-wrote the audience-friendly but rather predictable and characterization-light screenplay with Jared Stern and co-produced the project with director Levy.
It’s not the most ambitious of projects, but it still knows how to get laughs.
So we’ll employ 2½ stars out of 4 for an upbeat charmer of a soft Google-crashers comedy. The Internship may remain in search of its engine, but it still delivers a long list of laughs and a lake of lively likability.