“What does this have to do with computers?!” exclaims Nick (Owen Wilson) in the middle of an athletic competition during The Internship, and it’s a good question: The internship that Nick and his buddy Billy (Vince Vaughn) have taken at Google resembles no actual job or unpaid for-credit opportunity in the real world. It’s structured more like a reality show, with Nick, Billy and their fellow interns divided into teams and made to compete in various challenges to win full-time jobs at Google. While the rest of the competitors are 20-something college students, Nick and Billy are 40-something salesmen forced to deal with a changing economy.
Not that The Internship has anything to say about the nature of the American workforce; it’s basically a remake of every slobs-vs.-snobs comedy of the last 30 years, from Animal House to Revenge of the Nerds to Vaughn’s own Old School. Nick and Billy end up on the team of misfits, who must turn their weaknesses into strengths, defeat the team led by the obnoxious “jock” (Max Minghella) and prove to the hard-nosed “dean” (Aasif Mandvi) that they’ve got what it takes to succeed.
There’s nothing about The Internship that isn’t predictable, and anyone hoping for the raunch of Vaughn and Wilson’s last collaboration, Wedding Crashers, will be disappointed in the PG-13 result from family-friendly director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel). With near-constant product placement and a depiction of Google’s campus as the coolest place on Earth, The Internship is a feature-length commercial filled with mediocre jokes.