There is an old, stupid bumper sticker that reads “Old Age and Treachery Will Overcome Youth and Skill.” Maybe Vince Vaughn was driving around Bel Air one day and saw it on a particularly nice BMW, drove home, and wrote this movie. Face it, The Internship feels like a midlife crisis for Vaughn and Owen Wilson, who used to be cool, or at least made a lot of money pretending to be heartthrobs in Wedding Crashers not so long ago. And why not try again? says Hollywood. Vaughn scored some sort of weirdly indelible hipster credentials with Swingers two decades ago, and Wilson, with his aura of tragedy and wistful intelligence, was reasonably cool in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Yet in this film, which tries hard to prove bumper-sticker veracity, the duo just comes off as desperate to prevent a fading relevance. Maybe they are cool, but this movie makes them seem like the old guys who can’t leave the nightclub.
The plot and direction hobble even worse than the stars. Vaughn and Wilson play two salesmen about to close a big deal when their customer tells them that the luxury watch company they pump so shamelessly is broke, as if Rolex sales were hindered by smart phones. Chagrined, these perennial adolescents make the plot more preposterous by moving to San Francisco and trying to get a job at Google via a nerd-chic intern program — a dweebish contest rigged to prove that soulfulness trumps intelligence even in a tech company. Even cameos with real talent — stars like John Goodman — cannot save this falsely conceived crashing bore.
We’re meant to learn that even washed-up older people are more impressive than today’s kids, who apparently live online and only have Facebook friends. In the end, the film is patronizing, vapidly formulaic, and, most inexcusable of all, virtually unfunny. It’s so bad it makes Yahoo look appealing.