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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Internship

By
John P. McCarthy
Source: Catholic News Service


Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in a scene from the movie "The Internship."
Director Shawn Levy's comedy "The Internship" (Fox) has a topical premise along with two likable stars. Humor and inventiveness, on the other hand, are in short supply.

Adding insult to comedic injury, the belabored effort has enough bad language and offensive material to cancel out its pertinent message concerning the virtues of adaptability and perseverance, especially during a difficult economic period.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, middle-aged watch salesmen who suddenly find themselves unemployed and with little to show for their years of enthusiastic peddling. Evidently, now that most everybody carries an electronic device that displays the time, the demand for watches has cratered.

Moreover, Billy and Nick may be skilled shills, yet their computer illiteracy makes them virtual dinosaurs in the digital age.

At a loss for how to carry on professionally and personally, they apply for the highly competitive internship program at corporate giant Google. It's the domain of tech-savvy college-age kids, but Billy and Nick are chosen for diversity's sake -- precisely because they don't fit the typical profile.

Arriving at Google's Silicon Valley campus, the duo bands together with three socially awkward whizzes in a competition to see which team of interns will be offered paying jobs at summer's end.

Essentially a long advertisement for Google, "The Internship" is rarely laugh-out-loud funny and is chock-full of inevitabilities. These include a plethora of movie references, a rollicking sports sequence, romance for Nick -- who woos Dana Sims (Rose Byrne), a senior Google employee -- and a night on the town that enables the old dogs to show the young pups how to party.

Working from a script by Vaughn and Jared Stern, Levy strains to wring humor from the generational and cultural divides that separate Billy and Nick from the other wannabe "Googlers."

The movie is partially redeemed by its upbeat message about self-actualization in the face of rampant obsolescence caused by seismic shifts in the economic landscape. Were it not for the steady stream of vulgarity and off-color references, it could serve as a guide to successful career reinvention.

That said, Vaughn and Wilson are among the most appealing of the many actors routinely portraying children in grown men's bodies. A cameo by Will Ferrell, the poster boy for sophomoric screen antics, is a reminder of how much cruder "The Internship" might have been.

Technology may be advancing by leaps and bounds -- and, ideally, the workforce along with it -- but film comedies seem stuck in the Stone Age.

The film contains an implied premarital encounter, several uses of profanity, at least one rough term, frequent crude and crass language, considerable innuendo and passing approval of a same-sex relationship. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John P. McCarthy is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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