You’ve got to give Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson a lot of credit for their restraint in not routinely teaming up for lame buddy comedies after the massive success of “Wedding Crashers,” by far the biggest headlining hit of their careers.
“Wedding Crashers” was fresh, daring and became the 2000’s measuring stick of boys behaving badly comedy where people would say a subsequent film was just as funny as “Wedding Crashers.” Truthfully, none really captured that dynamic of bros gone wild until The Wolfpack descended on Vegas and made “The Hangover” every frat boy comedy’s inspiration post 2009 with its unpredictable, anything insane can happen approach.
And it’s in this new comedic landscape that Vaughn and Wilson reunite for “The Internship,” a comedy that while not as original or groundbreaking as their earlier effort, gets the most important aspect of the genre correct — it keeps you laughing consistently.
Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jared Stern (“The Watch”) don’t exactly stretch with the premise, which could easily be summarized as making the guys from “Wedding Crashers” a little less focused on wedding reception hook-ups and more on getting a job with Google provided they successfully complete an internship program. There’s more than a couple of scenes that recall “Wedding Crashers,” including the almost obligatory Will Ferrell cameo, but surprisingly it works as it’s familiar enough without being too stale.
After years of being two of the best watch salesmen in their region, Billy (Vaughn, still shooting off dialogue in rapid-fire fashion) and Nicky (Wilson) learn that their boss (John Goodman, “The Hangover Part III”) has abruptly shut down his business leaving them with little ideas on how to re-enter the workforce until Billy enters the two into a college student internship program at Google.
Google is portrayed as the Disney World for geeks with bright primary colors adorning everything from slides to bicycles. It looks like an amazing place to work.
Billy and Nicky quickly find themselves out of their element as they’re surrounded by patronizing college whiz kids, harassed by a hotshot intern Graham (Max Minghella, “The Ides of March”) and faced with the constant disapproval from intern supervisor, Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi, “The Proposal”).
Will Nicky be able to win over the stiff, but hot management exec (Rose Byrne, “X-Men: First Class”)? Will Billy and Nicky be able to unite their team of outcasts — Neha (Tiya Sircar), Stuart (Dylan O’Brien) Billy (Tophit Raphael) and Lyle (Josh Brener) — and show them there’s more to life than computer programming? Will they win jobs at Google?
I’d bash most comedies for being so formulaic and so rigidly sticking to the “overcoming underdogs” cliché, but this is such an earnestly good-natured film that it’s hard to hate on it and Director Shawn Levy (“Date Night”) wisely takes full advantage of the terrific chemistry between Vaughn and Wilson.
Nick and Billy hardly seem like characters and more a glimpse of what it would be like to follow Vaughn and Wilson around for a few days.
“The Internship” doesn’t signal the start of a new buddy comedy Golden Age, but you really can’t go wrong with Vaughn and Wilson’s reunion and if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted film this is a pleasant crowd-pleaser.
Rating: 7 out of 10