No Ordinary "Internship"

June 12, 2013, 2:13 p.m. | By Zoe Johnson | 11 years ago

Unemployment has never looked this good.

In "The Internship," the reality of unemployment and the need for a happy ending that could only happen in the movies collide when two jobless salesmen find themselves lacking skills that can help them in the digital age. Unsurprisingly, instead of trying to find a steady job through a logical process of applications, they follow their dreams, take a risk and apply for internships at Google. Their journey―and the journey through which they help their fellow interns―is, while cheesy, a touching, powerful and inspiring story.

Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are a cheerful, funny pair of middle-aged guys who are confident they can make their dreams come true with effort, teamwork and a little eccentricity. When they learn that their company has folded, Billy decides that they should apply to intern at Google as a way to learn new skills, try new paths and maybe get a job. (Before Nick agrees to this plan, however, he works briefly at his sister's boyfriend's mattress store. Be warned: this movie is not for the easily disturbed, as his new boss (Will Ferrell) talks about lascivious acts in a short but uncomfortable segment).

From the beginning, it's a given that Billy and Nick will triumph over adversity. The real joy comes from watching them do it in their own quirky way. They get the internships at the Google building, a fun and exciting hive of activity where people ride colorful bikes, get free food and go down slides as a way of moving from one floor to another. It is also a place of fierce and not-so-friendly competition, as about a hundred interns compete for limited job openings through a series of challenges that include debugging a computer code, playing Quidditch and creating a new app. Billy and Nick quickly learn that their happy-go-lucky brand of optimism is supremely unwelcome amongst exceptionally intelligent college students who are determined to get ahead in life.

Naturally, Billy and Nick's team of interns is a band of misfits, each with their own insecurities and problems. Billy and Nick's efforts to pull the team together help the kids figure out their lives and somehow save their own skins is an enjoyable romp with echoes of reality underlining the struggle. As Stuart points out, it's not cynical to believe that only the best will triumph, and the rest will fail and die. However, since the actors make their victories moving and believable, the evolution of the characters―particularly the young interns, who are so authentically messed up and careworn―is amazing to see. Stuart (Dylan O'Brien), a particularly apathetic and cynical intern, is irritating right up until the first time he smiles genuinely, about three-fourths of the way through the movie. It was hard not to cheer out loud.

Although Billy and Nick are the protagonists, in some ways they are not the center of the story. Though they have their own goals, their real purpose in the movie is to teach their fellow interns what really matters in the world. It's so easy to get caught up in school, work and jobs, and to use our achievements in these areas as measures of our success and our important as people. We as people are worth so much more than that.

Ultimately, however, "The Internship" is not about the work, the job or even the disturbingly realistic competition. It's about teamwork, quirkiness, and the all-important power of that elusive but crucial element in achieving dreams: belief. Anyone who has ever suffered from pressure to excel and/or to make one's dreams more "realistic" will appreciate the movie's blatant disregard of conventional wisdom in those areas, and enjoy the ride along the way.

"The Internship" is rated PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language and is now playing at area theatres (includes Regal Majestic 20, Regal Rockville Stadium 13, Montgomery Royal Theatres and Regal Bethesda 10). Released June 7.

Tags: Google summer movies Owen Wilson The Internship Vince Vaughn

Zoe Johnson. Hey there! I'm Zoe, and my spirit animal is a lioness, which sums up my personality pretty well, actually--though I do try not rip people from limb to limb if I can help it. But hey, we've all got our growth areas, right? I really … More »

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