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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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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
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