Reviews for the Easily Distracted

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
The Internship

Title: The Internship

Do Vince Vaughn And Owen Wilson Still Have That Magic? You're gonna party like it's 2005.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two Biff Tannens from Back to the Future out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Cast adrift from their jobs when their company goes belly up, two middle-aged salesmen become unlikely Google interns and teach today's sullen youth a little something about perseverance and the value of '80s movie references.

Tagline: "Crashing the system."

Better Tagline: "Mining moribund careers."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Getting laid off is scary, especially for a couple guys on the wrong side of 40. So when Nick (Wilson) and Billy (Vaughn) are forced to hit the bricks, things look pretty grim until Billy hits upon the idea of applying for internships at Google. After overcoming minor obstacles like the college enrollment requirement (hello, University of Phoenix) and bullshitting their way through the video interview, the pair find themselves saddled with the difficult task of helping their intern team of misfits rise above the pack in spite of their distinct lack of relevant skills.

See It/Rent It/Skip It: Skip it, unless you've somehow missed any other movie these guys have made in the last 20 years.

"Critical" Analysis: Google made over $3 billion in profit in just the first quarter of this year. It is far and away the most popular search engine on the planet, with over 76% of global searches. Even with all that, they not only expect you to sit through a two-hour commercial, but pay money to do so.

None of us are any stranger to product placement in the movies. From Reese's Pieces in E.T. to the real life ads incorporated into The Island to every Adam Sandler movie ever made, the phenomenon's here to stay. The Internship, however, may be the first honest-to-god infomercial masquerading as an "legitimate" film. Not a minute goes by that isn't packed with references to Google's products or its noble mission to bring information "to the people." Co-founder Sergey Brin even has a cameo.

Not that we should be surprised by this: it's directed by Shawn Levy, whose anything-for-a-buck track record includes the Cheaper By The Dozen and Pink Panther remakes. Asking him to give us something original is like asking, well, Vince Vaughn not to play a fast-talking d-bag.

I randomly looked up the "motorboating" clip from Wedding Crashers (for, uh, scientific reasons) and realized this might as well be a sequel to that film. It's easy to see Nick and Billy as older versions of those guys, but -- casting the net wider -- The Internship is merely the latest movie where Vaughn and Wilson play themselves. Sort of like Jack Nicholson, only without the latter's talent and self-awareness.

And even all that might be acceptable if not for the self-righteously anachronistic message attached to the production, a Larry Crowne-esque indictment of our modern, lazy youth who refuse to turn their frowns upside down and follow their dreams to success. What's that, recent college graduates? Worried about your 25 percent unemployment rate? Just hit a few strip clubs (who the hell paid for that, anyway?) and try connecting with people and finding your inner "Googliness" (seriously) instead of burying your noses in your smartphones and you'll be right as rain.

Ironically, it's the actors playing these malcontent young adults, like Dylan O'Brien (Stuart) and Tiya Sircar (Neha), that make the biggest impression. But that's probably because they look like Abercrombie & Fitch models and not, as the movie would have us believe, social outcasts.

The Internship is in theaters today. Stay in school, kids.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar