alliance they form with several other less-than-likely candidates
(played by, among others, newcomers Tiya Sircar, Josh Brener and Tobit
Raphael) is supposed to be about the wisdom of age meeting the raw
talent of youth, to their mutual benefit. In fact, the premise of the
movie is about the young and the old all vying for a limited number of
jobs, which is one of the things that makes the whole movie an allegory
for the current state of the U.S. economy. And profoundly unfunny.
Levy doesn’t seem to get it. Neither do his two stars (Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay). The conflicts in the film – in which teams of computer-coding geniuses are pitted against each other, in a microcosm of a “Hunger Games”-meets-Paul Ryan version of America – are pretty upscale problems: The Google wannabes are all candidate with 140-plus IQs and advanced degrees from MIT; they’re going to succeed, it might just not be at Google. The implication that they represent their generation at large is specious and might just tick off more discerning members of the audience.
It will certainly tick off anyone who reads the news, or has a memory about movies. The portrayal of real-life corporations on the big screen has traditionally been rare, and certainly not intended to assuage the stockholder. “The Social Network” was no bouquet of roses to Facebook. Back in 1961, the old Billy Wilder/James Cagney comedy “One, Two, Three” was, in part, about the Coca-Colonization of the Third World. (Not entirely successful: In 1980’s “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” an errant Coke bottle creates tribal unrest/existential discord, partly because corporate branding hasn’t yet reached the Bushmen of the Kalahari). Alex Gibney’s “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” was a virtual indictment of corporations and capitalism, per se.
“The Internship,” on the other hand, is a big wet kiss to Google — the multi-billion-dollar U.S. tech company that pays a 2.4 percent tax rate. That it has been, for four years running, the best place in America to work (according to the annual Fortune survey) adds insult to injury. Of course they can afford all the amenities. They don’t pay taxes. In its privileged, entitled cluelessness, “The Internship” is like a ride in Mitt Romney’s station wagon, without the laughs.