Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Internship

Lowdown: Two middle aged men go for an internship at Google.
I will admit it from the start: I am rather tired of the typical Vince Vaughn / Owen Wilson type humour. Sure, they both have their moments under the sun, but clearly this is a case of been there, done that, move on. Only that these two won’t move away from their milking cow.
No, for me the only reason to watch The Internship was the Google factor. Simply put, I have heard from numerous sources that the essence of this one is a movie long commercial for the number one online advertising company in the world. With such product placement for a company I deal with all the time, I wanted to check out how low things can go. I proved right to come in with this attitude, because if The Internship can pass for a film than I can pass for the Commander Shepard that survived the Reapers and is here to review movies.
Our story follows Billy & Nick (Vaughn & Wilson), two salespeople who do everything together. They sell together and they even go to bed together if need be (only for sleeping purposes, though; as much as V&W like to think themselves politically incorrect, they won’t go that far). Alas, they learn the hard way their boss (John Goodman) closed their company down, leaving them jobless. Thus they face the harsh world that is currently out there, a world where the prospects of a job seeker are pretty miserable. What can they do?
Billy comes up with an idea: they can apply for an internship at Google, out of which they have the slight chance of getting a job to last with that most wonderful of companies. Alas, our boys do not have the skills one would normally associate with Google; still, they’re given the nod to embark on their quest, surrounded as they are by flocks of interns half their age. What is their quest? To be members of the one team of interns that’s deemed to be the best of its round, thus to be rewarded with proper jobs at Google. Rest assured, the competition between intern teams is tough; and given our swans are more than ducks out of the water, one intern team is heavily encumbered already.
[First thing’s first: what is an intern to begin with? It seems like this is an American term describing people who get a job they are not qualified for yet. These “interns” do the work as they learn, thus acquiring the experience for a proper job. All the while they receive piss all in terms of financial benefits. In other words, do not envy the young American wishing to get themselves into a profession.]
I can criticise The Internship on so many angles it’s not funny. I will not even focus on its movie aspects; as I expected, this is yet another V&W talkfest that can rarely induce a mild laugh but is generally a broken affair full of stereotyping and cheap movie making corner cutting. Instead, I will focus on the Google angle that brought me here in the first place.
And that Google angle is far from flattering, either. As in, for a movie that is supposed to portray Google as the ultimate place to work for, The Internship does an incredibly bad job. For a start, there is that whole concept of pitting teams of artificially divided interns against one another to [employment] death. Even Microsoft has quit its policy of setting one employee on another through peer performance reviews! To think that Google was so close to recruit the baddies' team.
Wait, there’s more. What is the one thing one can do to turn their Google career for the better? If you ask The Internship, one goes to a strip club. But of course! Oh, and who does one meet at the strip club? Well, amongst others, one should expect to meet exotic looking Google female employees whose daytime salary does not allow making ends meet. Again I will ask, is this the image Google was after?
Then there is the Rose Byrne conundrum. Byrne’s, is case you’re asking, is the token female romantic character for Wilson’s to fall in love with. She’s a veteran Googler, self declaring her dedication to her employer is so high because this is her character’s way of improving the world. As in, do Google’s employees really fall for that? Don’t they realise that as a publicly listed company it is Google’s legal duty to ensure maximum shareholder income, and fuck everything else (worldly improvements included)?
But let’s go back to Byrne’s character again. Later on, she describes herself as a thirty plus year old who was so dedicated to the cause she forgot her biological clock etc, thus needing Nick (Wilson’s) services to sort her life out for her. Again, let me ask: does Google really want to associate itself with such abysmal female stereotyping?
Overall: A pathetic excuse for a film. 1 Mountain Dew out of 5.

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