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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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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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