Published Oct 25, 2013Can trimming an R-rated comedy down to PG-13 be the difference between success and failure? This is the intriguing question The Internship director Shawn Levy finds himself mulling over in the film's commentary track after witnessing its disappointing performance at the box office this past summer. Comedies especially have a tendency to be reappraised upon release for home consumption or after being watched for the third or fourth time on cable, and The Internship will likely grow on people in the coming years.
Reteaming Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson after the massive success of Wedding Crashers in 2005, the two respectively play Billy and Nick, a pair of smooth-talking watch salesmen who are cast adrift when their boss (John Goodman), realizing that people don't need watches when they have cell phones, decides to close up shop and retire. Faced with bleak prospects, Billy stumbles upon the idea of convincing Nick to join him in applying for an internship at Google, for which they are unexpectedly accepted following a bumbling interview.
After arriving at Google headquarters' utopian complex in California, Billy and Nick are stuck with a ragtag team of leftovers and castoffs when all the new interns are grouped together for competitions, in which they're pitted against each other to determine who will become permanent employees. As their team is faced with challenges like creating an innovative new app or answering customer support calls, they begin to come together and establish deeper bonds.
The chemistry of Vaughan and Wilson is still present and potent, with much of the humour stemming from the high-energy, fast-talking rapport the two have clearly honed through establishing a comfort level with each other. Nick's romance with one of his comely Google superiors (Rose Byrne) is fairly perfunctory, but benefits greatly from Byrne's natural charisma and comic abilities. The other supporting roles, from Aasif Mandvi (the head of the interns) to Max Minghella (as a snivelling rival intern), are well cast, producing some amusing subplots.
The supplemental material has a handful of deleted scenes and an intentionally overdramatic documentary about making an ill-advised Quidditch action sequence that uses a deep baritone voiceover to help emulate the feel of NFL Films. The highlight of the extras is the aforementioned commentary from Levy, which provides some valuable insight about using collaboration and improvisation to maximize comedic potential, as well as containing some cutting words for the cynics who chose to focus on how the movie seemed to glorify Google and make shameless use of product placement. Apparently, the Google offices are every bit as awesome as they are portrayed in the film. (Fox)