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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

A tale of two luddites

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The Internship

Film review by John Campbell


Predictability need not always be the kiss of death for a movie. There are, after all, only a handful of stories to be told, so what harm can it do if in a lightweight diversion such as this you feel that you’ve been down its well-worn path many a time? Certainly it didn’t bother me, dispirited as I was by yet another example, in the form of the tasteless fundraising menu, of Australia’s toxic political environment.

The abrasive but somehow likeable, soft-centred Vince Vaughn and harmless, lumpy-nosed Owen Wilson were a welcome relief from the bottom feeders of Canberra. Showing no sign of flagging, the man/boy format operates most effectively in pairs and there are few better exponents of it than Vaughn and Wilson – physically, temperamentally and in styles of delivery, they are a perfect match.

As highly successful sales reps, Billy and Nick suddenly find themselves on the scrapheap when their company folds, a victim of on-line marketing. With no prospects, the boys stick together and land an internship with Google. Only five out of the intake of one hundred will be offered jobs, but there is no way in the world that Billy and Nick won’t be among that select group. Just as there is no way in the world that Nick won’t get the girl, Rose Byrne, who is actually allowed to be Australian. (Nick thinks at first she’s English but, when told, offers ‘but it’s a similar flag.’ Sigh.)

The guys are ancients compared to their youthful peers and, though not complete Luddites, they are nonetheless more computer-illiterate than you might reasonably expect. A series of tests and challenges will present themselves as Billy and Nick and the three misfits in their team make their bid to live the dream of self-fulfilment. Fast-paced and brightly coloured, it makes a genuine effort to bridge the broadening gap between fundamental human needs and the goose-step march of communications technology.

Comfortably corny, this is a delicious mix of warmth, wit, excusable silliness and shameless positivity.

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