The Inferior Medium

Jun 7 2013 @ 6:22pm

Tim Grierson compares the latest Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn vehicle to “watching two aging fraternity brothers try to convince each other that they haven’t lost a step since college”:

If the movie was just the two guys hanging out, The Internship might have been enjoyable. But Vaughn has put them into a really creaky underdog tale that’s part Animal House, part Revenge of the Nerds, and a large part “Homer Goes to College”The Simpsons episode where Homer has to hang out with a bunch of smart, nerdy college kids and teaches them how to have some fun. That setup makes The Internship sound like a raucous comedy, but unlike Wedding Crashers, which was rated R, this PG-13 offering is actually pretty tame, no matter how many “shit”s the characters get away with saying. …

As for the Google setting and downsized-America topicality, the movie actually takes it seriously, hoping it’ll give the movie some emotional resonance. But according to The Internship, Billy and Nick are meant to represent all of us, the aging workers scared about an uncertain future in which we’ll be replaced by brainiac millennials who are too busy on their iPhones to, like, experience life, man, and get laid.

For A.A. Dowd, “it’s enough to make a lifelong Googler want to switch to Bing”:

Product placement is one thing; building a whole movie around the glorification of a multinational corporation is something else entirely.

Essentially a feature-length sponsored post, The Internship casts Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as middle-aged salesmen who find themselves competing against braniac college kids for a job at Google. As the film incessantly reminds viewers, the company—envisioned here as a professional paradise, where the food is free, diversity is key, and cars drive themselves—is regularly voted the greatest place to work in America. Characters go further, describing it as an “engine for change,” the “Garden of Eden,” and “the best amusement park you’ve ever been to, times a million.” If this excessively flattering farce is to be believed, Googliness is next to godliness.

Lydia DePillis has more on the corporate propaganda:

As the Los Angeles Times reported recently, Google charged neither location nor licensing fees for the privilege of shooting at its edenic headquarters, but did enjoy veto power over its contents. Accordingly, the script fully buys into the company mystique: Intern teams competing for full-time jobs are told they’ll be judged on their “Googliness,” which one character describes as “the intangible stuff that made a search engine into an engine for doing good.” And when Wilson’s love interest, a workaholic middle manager, says she puts in long hours because she thinks her job “makes peoples lives just a little bit better,” we’re clearly supposed to admire her.

The film’s advertorial nature hasn’t gone unnoticed. Early reviews have focused on the movie’s all-encompassing product placement, the Googleplex perks it highlights, and how it could be useful recruiting tool. (One critic even went so far as to suggest tickets to the movie, since it’s one long advertisement, should be given away for free.) It’s all true: In the world of The Internship, Google is basically paradise, the pinnacle of modernity and meaning in work. No wonder the company’s head of HR is so happy with it.

Previous Dish on the movie’s extreme product placement here.