Vince Vaughn's "The Internship" and the Limits of a Movie Critic's Ability to Overcome Bad Marketing

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Vince Vaughn's The Internship and the Limits of a Movie Critic's Ability to Overcome Bad Marketing

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | June 3, 2013 | Comments ()


Full Disclosure: I am not on the payroll of 20th Century Fox. I have not been paid to write this review. The following is a reflection of my honest opinion about The Internship.

I include that disclosure for one very simple reason: Because if you've seen the previews for The Internship, there is seemingly no other explanation for why I would say this, but The Internship is the funniest studio comedy of the year so far. Admittedly, that's not a terrifically high bar (Hangover III? Identity Thief?), so it might be more striking to say that The Internship is Vince Vaughn's funniest movie since The Wedding Crashers. Then again, that's not exactly a compliment, either, if you've seen Four Christmases, Couples Retreat, Fred Claus, or The Watch.

How about this, then: The Internship is a better, funnier movie than Wedding Crashers, a movie I absolutely adored. Now do you think I'm full of sh*t? Of course you do. You probably should. After all, I've seen Vince Vaughn's last five movies, and I've seen the previews for The Internship, so I would assume that I was full of sh*t if I hadn't witnessed The Internship for myself. Due out on Friday, the film sneak previewed over the weekend because 20th Century Fox had decided to tease the movie for audiences because it had tested through the roof with focus audiences. Before I'd even seen the film, however, I'd already mapped out a takedown review of inherent wrongness of focus testing. But hell if The Internship didn't win me over almost immediately, transforming the dread I felt going in into an equal amount of glee going out.

It's true: The Internship is a goddamn good comedy.

It is vintage Vince Vaughn, and it took a script that he co-wrote to recapture that old Vaughn magic. He is a terrific force in this film, fast-talking rat-a-tat-tatting throughout the picture, a perfect compliment to old-school confident Owen Wilson, all smiles and molasses-talking charm. The two play Billy and Nick, respectively, a couple of chatty high-end watch salesmen laid off because nobody wears watches anymore. With little skills other than the ability to bullsh*t and bring out the best in people, they luck their way into a Google internship, where they are placed with a team of misfits vying for a job at the end of the summer.

There is certain underdog formula to the film -- it's the Bad News Bears of the tech world -- but Vaughn and Wilson bring so much enthusiasm to their performances that it's hard not to be won over. There are some great comedic set pieces -- a Quidditch match, for instance, and a transformative drunken night out for a bunch of tech nerds -- but the reason why The Internship works -- and it works brilliantly -- is that familiar Vaughn/Wilson chemistry, which settles in almost immediately. The Internship is the perfect vehicle for them, combining the fish-out-of-water premise with their immensely persuasive conversational skills. It doesn't hurt, either, that Vaughn and Wilson are surrounded by some great talent in smaller roles, like Aasif Mandvi, B.J. Novak, and John Goodman, who is finally in a movie where he's not the only redeeming part (there's also a great cameo you should expect if you've seen The Wedding Crashers).

Thematically, it's a fascinating movie, too. It's a clash between the millennials -- who are forced to face reality after growing up coddled by their parents -- and Gen X, a generation dealing with the fact that they're being forced out of their jobs by technology. The Internship very well could've been a "get off my lawn" kind of movie, but Vaughn brings to the film effusive optimism about both generations adapting to modern life, about Gen X needing to learn new skills from the younger generation, while the millennials need to pull their heads out of their iPhones for a moment and appreciate the outside world. It is a hilarious movie, but it is also a hopeful and optimistic one.

But then again, I doubt any of you believe me. I do not have the ability to overcome the dreadful marketing that The Internship has suffered. I don't know that any review could overcome that, which is too bad because it means the rightfully cynical among you will ultimately miss out on a great summer comedy. Seeing is believing, but given the trailers for The Internship, who would pay to see?

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • wiwille

    I saw it, sadly. It was not good.

  • automatic365

    I just saw this movie based on this review and...

    This is EXACTLY the movie it was marketed as

    You burned me bad, Dustin. You burned me bad.

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    The two play Billy and Nick, respectively, a couple of chatty high-end watch salesmen laid off because nobody wears watches anymore. With little skills other than the ability to bullsh*t and bring out the best in people, they luck their way into a Google internship, where they are placed with a team of misfits vying for a job at the end of the summer.

    I don't get it. How does one "luck" into a Google internship? Especially one with no programming experience whatsoever? I would imagine those are some of the most competitive spots in the world, and there must be actual competency tests, as well as people who look at resumes and determine likely fit. Why wouldn't these guys look for other sales jobs?

    If this is a "forgot logic completely and go with the flow" kind of "funny" movies, I'm out.


  • wicked.whisper

    please john favreau .....write us another Made to turn vince Vaughn loose in the only way he is entertaining...or create a time machine, go back to 1994 when vince Vaughn was lithe and beautiful like a fast talking cheetah and make several sequels to swingers revolving around Trent...Swingers 2: double down, Swingers 3:dude, it's f'king on!.........and while you're back in 1994...terminator stle execute who ever is responsible for the Hangover movies.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I've noticed that the commercials are a bit different since this was published. Dustin, you may have saved this movie.

  • Yocean

    You had me at Quiditch. By the way I think I fall somewhere between Gen X and Millenials. What are we, Gen Y? Or maybe little younger Gen Z ? Or maybe Gen Why? Or Gen Gee!

  • Strand

    I'll give it a shot and if it didn't earn its ticket price, there's a brick with your address on it Rowles.

  • googergieger


  • e jerry powell

    I'm cynical about Vince Vaughn in general, so...

  • Going back to the "fake reviews" well, I see.

  • I don't believe you. Is this even Dustin? Or his evil twin Mustin Knowles? Who paid you? WHERE AM I.

  • BWeaves

    I wear a watch. I'm always on time. Everyone else is always late, because they are playing with their damn phones instead of checking the time, which I understand should display somewhere on those newfangled phones.

    What was the question?

  • You won't fool me again, Fake Dustin Rowles. Go interview Fake Bradley Cooper some more.

  • Fredo

    So it's Wedding Crashers meets Old School at Google, then.

    And part of me still thinks Vince Vaughn might have given you a reacharound for this review.

  • Bert_McGurt

    "Now do you think I’m full of sh*t? Of course you do. You probably should."

    Oh, we do. WE DO. It's cute that you think this review is what clued us in though.

  • Kris

    I can't believe this review doesn't say a word about Dylan O'Brien. But I am glad to hear it's a good one because I was going to see it anyway.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Vaughn is best with a Wilson brother at his side. I'm in.

  • I saw it a few weeks back. It's a harmless comedy that could be seen as a matinee. It drags in certain parts and in the end nothing feels like it was worth the effort. But it could have been a lot worse based on the trailers.

  • anikitty

    Really? Redbox it is.

  • Mythra Sun

    I'm relieved to see that the review was not another tongue in cheek evisceration of the movie. I am going to a sneak preview of it tomorrow night so the bar is now set on HIGH!

  • Xtacle Steve

    Good to hear, because yes, those trailers were awful.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    There was no way, NO WAY, that I was going to see this and it's all because of the marketing. I'm still reluctant as I'd have to trust you and your opinion and the last time I did that you took my innocence and left me with an uneven ballsack.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Aren't ballsacks naturally uneven?

    ...Or do I need to go into therapy and unearth some repressed memories?

  • sean

    I am strangely relieved to hear this. I sort of want to see this. I usually hate movie comedies. This will get my $5 one rainy day.

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