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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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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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