Everything I Learned about The Internship from Reading the Reviews

I hate admitting I’m not the infallible creature many of you take me for, but the truth is, I don’t get to see every movie. Such was the case with The Internship. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s latest two-guys-doing-something-they’re-too-old-for-and-being-awesome-at-it comedy opens today, with a script co-written by Vaughn himself and direction from master of comedy, Shawn Levy, director of such films as Real Steel and Date Night. But while I couldn’t make it to a screening, I’d like to think I made up for it by spending even more time reading every review, piecing together the plot bit by bit, and I’m convinced I came away knowing everything there is to know about The Internship. And now I share this knowledge with you.

Spoilers alert, in case that wasn’t obvious.

Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) sell pricey wristwatches. -USA Today

They tell prospective clients that “you can’t control time, but you can manage it.” -Screencrush

They learn that the company they work for has gone out of business from a client they’re wining and dining, -USA Today

…because “no one wears watches anymore, they just look at their phones.” -NY Daily News

As if hearing such important news secondhand wasn’t bad enough, Billy finds himself sitting in an empty house after his girlfriend walks out on him, and Nick resorts to selling mattresses for his demented brother-in-law. But just when it seems like they’ve hit rock bottom, -TV Guide

Vaughn’s character performs a Google search using the words “jobs for people with few skills.” -VillageVoice

Rather than looking for new sales jobs, Billy decides they should take unpaid internships in a field they know nothing about. -USA Today

And then Nick and Billy video-conference their way into a summer internship at the world’s greatest company. -Chicago Trib

Though they clearly lied on their résumés, know nothing about tech and are old enough to remember when AOL was a hot stock, the company hires them alongside the 21-year-olds, anyway. -NY Post

How do two grown men without even a passing understanding of the Internet score internships at the world’s leading web company? Basically, by telling a sob story during their interview and positioning themselves as victims of the financial collapse. After all, Google isn’t made of stone! -AV Club

A low-level employee says the company needs “diversity.” And brainless white guys are definitely an underserved minority. -NY Post

The fortyish geezers win an internship with Google, represented as the best place to work EVER! -Rolling Stone

Google’s massive, playground-like [Mountain View] campus is described, no kidding, as a “Garden of Eden” that “connects people to information,” a primary-colored nirvana filled with company bikes, “rest pods” for employees, free coffee and Quidditch-game reenactments that attracts “over a million advertisers.” And did you notice the dry-cleaning service? -NY Daily News

…the sun always shines, meals are free, cars run without drivers and even the staffers are hot. -Rolling Stone

…a magical wonderland of bean bag chairs, yoga balls, volleyball courts, free coffee and bagels, and decommissioned rocket ships. Google is basically the best place to work in the whole wide world! -Screencrush

“This place is incredible!” Vaughn’s character says, ogling the Google campus for the first time. -Chicago Trib

Characters go further, describing it as an “engine for change,” the “Garden of Eden,” and “the best amusement park you’ve ever been to, times a million.” -AV Club

But it’s a rough go at first. Our mid-40-somethings are treated as freaks and dinosaurs and lumbering wastes of time. -Chicago Trib

…mistaken for a same-sex couple when they first get to Google… -Salon

instantly ostracized by Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi) and the domineering douche Graham (Max Minghella). -Filmracket

“In a world of excellence, old and unexceptional qualifies as diversity,” they’re told by a snooty young intern. -USA Today

Branded as out-of-touch losers by a twerpy villain and not helped by an officious supervisor, Billy and Nick assemble a team of outsiders to win this “mental ‘Hunger Games.’ ” -NY Daily News

…where talented young people are pitted against each other, Hufflepuff vs. Gryffindor style, in a geek-Olympics where they work really hard all summer for no money in the hope of someday, somehow, getting an actual job! -Salon

Billy and Nick’s competitors for the coveted internship are a team of asshole jocks and a crew of sweet Big Bang Theory-like geeks. -Rolling Stone

Chosen last, Billy and Nick join a team of young dweebs who cringe at their tech cluelessness. -Rolling Stone

The participants include a “Star Wars”-loving geek girl, a mumbling home-schooled savant, a brooding hipster and the gang’s nerdy manager, Lyle (Josh Brener), the film’s most annoying character by far. “We’ll workshop that, it’s in beta,” Lyle says in one of 900K stupid lines. -NY Daily News

Clueless, Billy says “on the line” instead of online… -Rolling Stone

they can’t figure out how webcams work… -USA Today

…and quote 1980’s touchstones, such as Flashdance. Billy and Nick are pop-culture junkies meant to have no concept of X-Men, Quidditch, or Nelly. -Rolling Stone

There’s an entire gag about the fact that Google interviewers believe that Billy, Vaughn’s character, has represented himself as knowing the programming language C++, when what he really meant is that in school he got a C-plus in typing class. -Salon

He calls his manager Lyle “Gomer Lyle” and abbreviates “farm to table” as “F2T.” Other comedic fodder includes mindless jokes about Alzheimer’s and skin cancer, mocking an overweight young girl for doing gymnastics and Will Ferrell’s minor character channeling Scott Disick and asking, “Have you done the back door yet?” -Redeye

Billy stocks up on more than he can actually eat, let alone carry, at the search behemoth’s famous free cafeteria. -VillageVoice

The term Google is manipulated for laughs — employees are judged for their degree of “Googliness” and those who’ve recently joined the company are “Nooglers” -USA Today

…the title monogrammed on interns’ propeller beanies -Tampa Bay Times

…people saying “My noogler” in reference to a new Googler… -Redeye

“Everybody’s searching for something,” one character says as if pitching a new tagline for the site, just before another guy compliments our heroes by noting that “their Googleyness is off the charts.” -Screencrush

The interns compete at developing a new Android app, finding a bug in some proprietary software code, become tech support phone operators and sell Google ads to small businesses. -FoxNews

The movie deals with this inherent [to computer coding] lack of visual interest by pretending that winning a quidditch match against fellow interns might help you get hired, but put me down as doubting Google got where it is by hiring based on ability to play fictitious sports. -NY Post

Yet no one apparently had an issue with the band of outsiders bonding at a strip club. -NY Daily News

…leading to unmentionable sight gags and a general sense that the scene does not belong with anything else in “The Internship.” -Chicago Tribune

Nick (who calls his pal Billy “El Nino,” “Big B” and, oddly, “Bojangles”) romances a higher-up (Rose Byrne) -NY Daily News

…a Google employee who of course needs to work less and date more, -Redeye

Byrne simply switches from resisting the Wilson character to liking him. Of course, the best Byrne can do, at an overwhelmingly male company, is a 40-year-old with no income. -NY Post

Stereotypes abound, including the requisite nerdy Asian boy bossed around by his tiger mother.  -USA Today

…oversexed nerd girl, angry young man, brilliant Asian with strict parents, nerdy guy who just needs a little confidence… -TV Guide

…the disapproving authority figure, the snooty rich-kid, a smoking-hot professor type… -AV Club

the hard-to-get love interest, the dull, one-dimensional villain with a bad accent -TV Guide

…the overly detached hipster with rectangular glasses, the white kid who talks black, the geek-fetish girl who turns out to be a virgin… -Salon

and when Billy dabbles in selling motorized scooters at a retirement home, a sequence involving a pair of randy old ladies. -USA Today

There’s also a requisite cameo from Will Ferrell, trying to be weird as a “back-door”-loving mattress salesman who is dating Nick’s sister. -NY Daily News

Also, there’s a lengthy detour for a party scene that has nothing to do with the main action, which is the boys’ quest to win a series of challenges on a team with three fellow interns. Along the way there are maybe 30 references to “Flashdance” -NY Post

Do they win the competition, which includes a test to see how great they are as help-line operators? -NY Daily News

“I believe what we do makes people’s lives better!” chirps a Google employee at the rah-rah ending. -NY Daily News

Do cool guys Billy and Nick teach the dorks a thing or two about the real world? Do the book smart savants return the favor? -Filmracket

I’m inclined to answer yes to those last two rhetorical questions, but on the other hand, whenever I go into a Vince Vaughn movie, I try to expect the unexpected. Incidentally, at least four of the reviews I read included a last line about wanting to switch to Bing.

Finally, lest you think I’ve been unfairly focusing on the negative, here’s a positive review, from a friend of a reader:

[NY DailyNews, RollingStone, NYPost, ChicagoTribune, USAToday, TVGuide, FilmRacket, TampaBayTimes, ScreenCrush, Redeye, AV ClubVillageVoice, Salon, Fox News]