Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have done various things since they struck comedic and cinematic gold when they co-starred in the 2005 smash hit Wedding Crashers. And while they have been received decently at times, it seems like nothing has been able to match the type of popularity they received in their first film together as co-stars. So it would seem to make sense that they would reunite for another attempt at the brass ring to see if they can make it two for two.
Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay with Jared Stern (The Watch) and Shawn Levy (Date Night) directed. Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, respectively, who have been recently laid off from their salesmen jobs. Billy decides to take the bold step of applying them both at Google, but for the internship program, where they find themselves working and competing against people half their age. Despite the wishes of a department head in Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi, Premium Rush) and the most aspirational intern, a youngster named Graham (Max Minghella, The Social Network), Billy and Nick do what they can not only for themselves, but as part of the ragtag group of interns they work with in order to become gainfully employed.
The underlying thing to me about The Internship is that Vaughn and Wilson come off in the film as being tired. Not so much that the public has grown weary of them, though one could make the case for it, but there seems like there is an underlying sadness to them past what their characters are supposed to convey. There is little denying that two guys in their forties competing for the chance at a job with college graduates and folks who are generally smarter than them makes playing a sad sack an easy task, but in watching Vaughn and Wilson go through the motions in The Internship, it almost feels like a slightly self-autobiographical turn for the stars.
In no small part, the lack of a substantive supporting cast that shines in their own moments (which Crashers had plenty of) is the main thing that sinks The Internship. Consider that Crashers had a pre-breakout Bradley Cooper, Isla Fisher and Rachel McAdams, to name a few. Each got a variety of scenes to explore their talents and did so. The Internship gives us hints of a smarmy antagonist in Minghella and Mandvi, but they tend to not equal to those in Crashers. And in lieu of McAdams, Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) appears in the film as a kind of, sort of love interest for one of the stars, but it feels like a wasted subplot.
The bulk of The Internship is left to the hands of the members of Billy and Nick's "team," which as a whole fail to impress with their roles. Among the younger interns are Dylan O'Brien, who plays Stiles in the television remake of Teen Wolf, Tiya Sircar (Friends With Benefits) and first-time actor Tobit Raphael. There is even an appearance by Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs). But left to their own devices the youngsters are not impressive, and any involvement that Billy and/or Nick has in their development is half-hearted, uninspiring and less than believable. One should have reminded Vaughn and Wilson that for The Internship to be as funny as their last film, some effort needed to be exerted.
While there are some moments within The Internship that may be funny, they tend to lack any resonance past seeing them for the first time, and if that was the intent of Vaughn, Wilson and Levy, then I think they missed the mark. Moreover, if the intent was for the film to be some transitional point for Vaughn and Wilson to move past the childish (yet funny) ways of their twenties and thirties, it lacks any emotional tenderness to help emphasize this. Whatever the goal, The Internship is left floundering as a result.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Two cuts of The Internship come to Blu-ray from Fox, the 119 minute theatrical cut and an extended/unrated one that is about five minutes longer, and both appear in high-definition using the AVC codec in 2.35:1 widescreen. This is another excellent transfer by Fox for a current Blu-ray title, with ample color reproduction and accurate fleshtones, and image detail is abundant in the foreground and background, with the latter providing a slight multidimensional feel when viewing. There is nothing that the image has had done to it that I could detect, it looks great.
On the audio side, the film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track was fine but was slightly underwhelming. I think the thing that stuck out for me while watching this was that there was a lack of directional effects to make for an involved listening experience, but that is not to say the track is not good. Dialogue is consistent throughout in the front of the soundstage, channel panning is present, along with an occasional moment or two of low-end fidelity. It just lacks a slight attention to that detail which would make it memorable, or at least in line with similar Fox releases, but it is solid listening material nonetheless.
A little bit of everything on the package. Levy does a commentary for the film where he discusses some of the reaction to the film, recalls getting notes from his producer while recording the commentary and dealing with tweets from people the day of recording. He cites the audience results from test screenings on more than one occasion, but also recalls the casting of and thoughts on the movie when looking past Vaughn and Wilson. He also shares some crazy information about Google that was incorporated into the movie that is moderately mind-blowing and engrossing. Like the film, the commentary is a bit all over the place. From there, Eight deleted scenes (8:26) include some more Will Ferrell (who appears in the first act as a guest star) but generally are nonsensical. "Any Given Monday" (17:52) shows a bit more on the Quidditch tournament that Google has, along with the testing of it, a little bit of general goofiness, which comes through in the fact that there is a tournament created entirely out of fiction I guess. The trailer is next (2:26), and the disc has a standard definition disc and code for the Ultraviolet and iTunes services.
The Internship is an attempt from Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to reclaim the magic that they realized with Wedding Crashers. While there are glimpses of that over the course of the film, it feels like the two people most vital to the success of The Internship do not want to be part of it. Technically, the disc is decent but unspectacular as on the bonus material side of things. But if you want to watch Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson cracking a whole lot of people up consistently over 100 minutes? Go see Wedding Crashers.