Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, out-of-work salesmen angling for a job at the youth-centric Internet giant Google in "The Internship." It's a well-timed comedy about unemployment, technology and the generation gap, and its comforting main message is that the world will always need the kind of guy known as a people person.
It's Billy who gets the idea to apply to Google after the watch company he works for unexpectedly folds. "Watches are obsolete," says his boss (John Goodman), holding up a time-telling smartphone as proof, "and so are you."
After a fruitless online search for "jobs for people with few skills," Billy begins Googling Google itself. After some fast talking, he and Nick travel to the company's headquarters (presumably in Mountain View, Calif.), where they must compete against scores of younger, smarter, hipper interns.
Directed by Shawn Levy ("The Watch") and co-written by Vaughn and Jared Stern, "The Internship" sometimes feels like a compendium of search results for "comedies about misfits." The setup is a series of competitions for the prize of an actual job. Billy and Nick team up with snotty Stuart (Dylan O'Brien), nerdy Lyle (Josh Brener), pretty Neha (Tiya Sircar) and the token uptight Asian (Tobit Raphael). The bad guys are led by Graham (Max Minghella), naturally a Brit. Along the way, the oldsters teach the youngsters how to look up from their keyboards and enjoy the world, which includes strip-clubs. Nick finds a love-interest in workaholic Dana (Rose Byrne).
Though the interns are driven by an unforgiving boss (Aasif Mandvi), "The Internship" does depict Google as "the best place to work in America," as Billy describes it. The movie also indulges in outright fantasy when it shows the interns manning Google's live help line. (As if!) Still, the company makes sense for this comedy. Imagine how the movie's tone -- even its entire genre -- would change if our heroes landed at, say, Goldman Sachs (thriller) or McDonald's (tragedy).
The Vaughn-Wilson routines feel slightly lazy, and the whole affair feels like a rush-job. "The Internship" gets by mostly on good intentions and an overall sweetness of spirit, which just might be the point.
PLOT Two unemployed, middle-age men finagle an internship at youth-centric Google.
CAST Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne
BOTTOM LINE Feels like a rush job, with the Vaughn-Wilson team texting it in, but it's hard to gripe too much about this good-natured and mostly raunch-free comedy.