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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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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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