Saturday, June 22, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Internship"

The Internship

The comedic combo of Vaughn
and Wilson makes me laugh —
plain and simple. In fact, they
could team up in a film entitled,
STAGE 4: No Hope for the Dying,
and I'd be rolling down the aisle.
As for their latest collaboration,
the laughs ensue immediately.

Directed by Shawn Levy, and written by Vince Vaughn with Jared Stern, The Internship reunites Vaughn as Billy McMahon with Wilson as Nick Campbell — two unemployed, 40-something watch salesmen who endeavor successfully to be chosen for the internship program at Internet technology giant, Google.

While parts of The Internship were shot on location at the actual Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, most of the film was shot at the Atlanta campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Essentially, The Internship is a not-so cleverly disguised younger brother to Vaughn and Wilson's 2005 blockbuster comedy, Wedding Crashers — from the buddy-buddy, co-worker dynamic of the two lead characters, right down to the Will Ferrell cameo appearance — Mom! The meatloaf! But it's a formula that works.

For a 50-year-old guy like myself whose idea of a technological breakthrough was graduating from 8-track to cassette back in 2008, I found the story of two other clueless middle-aged guys competing against college kids in a field they know nothing about to be fresh and laugh-out-loud funny.

I don't personally go to (most) movies looking for a message. I'm looking merely to escape for a while. And I don't want to escape to someplace worse than where I came. I typically just want to be entertained and to laugh for a couple of hours. In that regard, The Internship pays enormous dividends.

But be sure that despite offering non-stop laughs, The Internship does also offer two well-defined messages. And given Vaughn and Wilson's mass appeal and the film's PG-13 rating, those messages are aimed squarely at the hip, young, super-savvy, iGeneration. On the upside, the message from Billy and Nick to their younger colleagues, encouraging them to occasionally "look up just three inches" from their iGadgets and participate in real life is relevant and powerful indeed. However, the greater message is a rather disturbing one — "Get drunk and be somebody." Only through the experience of a tequila-soaked night carousing in a strip joint, do we see the film's unlikable, 20-year-old, techno geeks suddenly become cool and endearing. It's a dangerous message that is further amplified when uptight brainiac, Stuart, confesses to Nick the next morning that their booze-fueled debauchery had made for the greatest night of his life.

Listen, I'm no prude. In my past, I've dealt drugs and groupies to rock stars and have participated in some downright shameful backstage shenanigans. But I never wanted to tie a tablecloth around my neck and jump off my parents' roof until I saw my superheroes flying across the big screen. Contrary to what some may believe, movies do have a profound influence on culture — now more than ever. And as a Christian youth leader, I found the primary message presented in The Internship to be troubling.

But enough preaching (for now). In sum, I did enjoy The Internship thoroughly. In fact, I just might go see it again. And I'd recommend it highly to other mature adults who share my penchant for smart, crisp, edgy humor, but who also can discern Gospel truths from Hollywood lies.

-Christopher Long
(June 2013)

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