Movie Review: Vaughn, Wilson's comic chemistry propels 'The Internship'

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Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are sensational salesmen.

They set up a dinner with a customer, order a bottle of the most expensive, rarest bourbon in the world and casually drop the names of the man's wife and gymnastics-loving daughter into the conversation.

And then their amiable guest lowers the boom: "Your company is closed. I hate to be the one telling you that."

Their boss (John Goodman, in cameo) confirms the news about the high-end timepieces they sell. "Watches are obsolete and so are the two of you. ... You two are dinosaurs. Face it."

'The Internship'

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

  • Starring:

    Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne.

  • Rating:

    PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language.

In "The Internship," the bad news just keeps on coming for Billy, who loses his house and his girlfriend. Her parting shot: "You talk a big game, but you never do anything about it."

When he Googles Google (the company), Billy lands internship interviews for the pair, and they improbably swing a couple of slots at what many consider a workplace paradise -- a very cool California campus, free coffee and food, volleyball court outside, nap pods inside -- and what proves to be a cutthroat atmosphere.

Summer interns are split into teams and pitted against one other, with the winning group promised jobs. It's like a "mental Hunger Games," Nick says, as the pair end up on a squad with the interns no one wanted, led by a 23-year-old Google employee (Josh Brener).

"The Internship" tracks their team -- including an anxious home-schooler, another who spends most of his time staring at his phone and a woman who is brilliant but boyfriend-less -- as they tackle geeky challenges and try to prove their "Googliness."

Directed by Shawn Levy ("Real Steel," "Date Night," "Night at the Museum") and co-written by Mr. Vaughn, "The Internship" is lightweight summer entertainment that turns on the leads' comfort and comic chemistry, forged in "Wedding Crashers."

It draws on Mr. Wilson's boyish charm as he tries to romance a Google employee (Rose Byrne) and Mr. Vaughn's ability to talk faster than anybody else and come up with kooky, irresistible, inspiring references to "that little welder girl" from "Flashdance," which will hit home with Pittsburghers more than most.

The makers of "The Internship" are like bowlers who want to pick up a seven-ten split except here the pins are intern-age moviegoers along with patrons who are, like the actors, in their 40s or older and who will relate to pop-culture lapses or technological tribulations.

It keeps the mean-spiritedness to a minimum -- an intern played by Max Minghella corners that market, even insulting his own teammates -- but earns its PG-13 rating for restraint alternating with raunch, including lap dances at a club.

"The Internship" is not the funniest movie of the year, but it capitalizes on the synergy of its stars and their attempt to find fresh starts, new jobs ... and their Googliness.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: First Published June 7, 2013 4:00 AM


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