[img]http://www.customdvd.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29085&d=1370625121&thumb=1[/img]Releasing/Participating Studio(s): 20th Century Fox
Disc/Transfer Information: Region 1; Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 (Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1)
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Tested Audio Track: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Shawn Levy
Starring Cast: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, John Goodman, Rose Byrne, Dylan O’Brien II, Jessica Szohr
The Internship and After Earth have been officially labeled the two biggest stinkers of this past summer blockbuster season by film critics in and out of my own circles; I avoided seeing After Earth for this reason, but after seeing The Internship on DVD last night I have to say it wasn’t as bad as the criticism was suggesting. It was far from memorable or even overtly hysterical, but it wasn’t truly, truly awful. The biggest problem from other critics’ point of view – and I somewhat agree – is that Wilson and Vaughn didn’t have the same hysterical chemistry as they did in Wedding Crashers. Indeed, something was “weighing” them down here and I’m not certain if it was the lack of a solid screenplay, the direction or the subject matter for which they didn’t really seem a good match (some older, burned-out sales dudes attempting to “relate” to the world we live in now via a Google internship at the company’s San Francisco headquarters) – in the end, you really have to be a birthday shy of being 25 years old to truly get immersed in the stuff The Internship exudes.
First, let me say this was an all-to-honest look into the world that we now occupy – a fast-paced, technologically burgeoning society that can’t communicate unless it’s via some type of electronic handheld device. As sad and pathetic as this sounds, it is beyond true – my wife works in customer relations for a major world-renowned hotel brand and she deals with these idiots all day long…the horror stories she tells me actually turned me off to even wanting to see this film because I knew what I’d be walking into. If a human being today is under the age of 30 – I’ll go a little higher than the parameter I gave earlier just for comparison purposes – they simply can’t talk, eat, breathe, walk or survive without a tablet, iPhone, iPad, Smartphone or any number of the myriad of devices out there attached to their hand. The situation is becoming more apparent and pathetic by the day, and many sociologists truly believe that the cause of all the violence we’re seeing in schools and this “self-entitlement” sort of attitude nearly everyone in the world takes today is stemming from our lack of intercommunications and reliance on mobile devices. There’s no doubt that the bullying epidemic we’re seeing in schools is stemming from social media – these rotten kids can hide behind their computers and torment another student based on their looks, mental state, family cohesiveness and other elements to the point it drives the victim to suicide and their parents not only condemn this behavior but act as if the problem doesn’t exist. This “inward implosion” that many researchers claim we’re headed towards really isn’t that far away, folks, I hate to say – the late great comedian George Carlin had it right when he said in one of his shows “The planet is doing fine…it’s the people that are screwed up…BIG difference…”
But I’m going off on a tangent now – The Internship, whether purposefully or not, explores this phenomenon we’re living amidst wherein a young demographic pretty much controls everything electronic and can’t really behave or relate to anything or anyone without the use of their handheld devices. In its attempt as a comedy it doesn’t really stand up but as a satire looking inward at a society gone batty and cold, it ultimately succeeds – at the core of the story are two wristwatch salesmen Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn) and Nick Campbell (the smash-nosed Owen Wilson) that are unexpectedly laid off from their jobs (this whole notion of being watch salesmen was a bit odd to me; it was almost as if the filmmakers were “forcing” this idea that the two main characters are such dinosaurs, they are selling men’s wristwatches in a traveling salesman environment). They have no idea that their boss (John Goodman) has decided to close his “watch selling” company (very odd, again) but they learn that the hard and embarrassing way when they meet a client for a lunch sales pitch and he informs the duo of what he already knows. Going back to their disappointed love interests – one of which, in Vaughn’s character’s case, is smokin’ hot – the two work friends try to figure out their next move while the ladies in their lives contemplate walking out on them. It’s always interesting – and saddening – to me when I see these scenarios in which women are so quick to simply drop a guy because something happens at his job or the money is no longer flowing in…it’s a setup I’ve seen too many times in Hollywood productions but of course this happens in the real world…we just call it the Gold Digger Syndrome…
Ahhh, but I digress yet again – Nick and Billy attempt to find their way in a more modern world, but not before Nick lands a job at a mattress store run by the completely imbecilic (but totally and hysterically in his league here) Will Ferrell who ups the laugh quotient to a degree not achieved by either Vaughn or Wilson combined in this. Sporting overtly fake neck tattoos that supposedly read “do something of value” and acting like the complete off-the-wall nutjob he is, Ferrell’s character was probably one of the funniest elements of this film, yet he wasn’t given enough screen time (nor was he credited for his role, the same with John Goodman, mysteriously). Billy, meanwhile, discovers during some Google searching for “jobs for people without experience” that the two of them could attend Google’s own summer internship program at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. After some impromptu funny “over-the-computer” interview moments from the children’s section at a public library, the two friends decide to head to San Francisco and attempt to join the hordes of twenty-somethings that have swarmed the Google headquarters for this internship. From this point, The Internship is supposed to get side-splittingly funny but it doesn’t, merely chalking up a couple of laughs for good measure beyond seeing Wilson and Vaughn sitting amongst super techno-geeks in their yellow, green, red and blue Google propeller hats.
It’s obvious from the onset that these two 40-something guys aren’t at home here – the group vying for a job at Google is comprised strictly of glasses-wearing, tight-jean-donning outcast misfits from the young 20-something pool, none of which want to have anything to do with the two “old men” that don’t even know how to get beyond a search engine let alone attempt HTML coding and the like. Some funny banter begins between the internship’s director Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi) and the two oldest internship applicants, especially when an exercise in answering some “office behavior” questions via a multi-colored paddle goes horribly awry. From there, though, the plot touches on ridiculously clichéd elements (the outcasts will teach the young techno-nerds what it’s like to think outside of their phones, et al) and splinters in different directions, concentrating on Nick’s interest in a Google employee named Dana (Rose Byrne), the guys’ determination to bring these geeks “out of their closet” of technology by dragging them to a gentlemen's/dance club of some kind and a personal vendetta between a jerk of a competing “team leader” in the internship program (Max Minghella) and Nick and Billy. As the internship plods on, the individual teams that comprise the internship group are given more and more challenging projects to tackle by Chetty to prove themselves worthy Google employment material – but I gotta tell ya…never in my wildest dreams would I ever let anyone put me through such nonsense and prodding and poking so that I may “deem myself worthy” to a company. If my resume doesn’t speak well enough about me and my abilities/experience and I don’t wow you in my interview stage, I don’t know what else there is to say; I won’t be getting in front of a committee and doing some stupid dance to prove co-worker morale no matter how bad I need employment. Yet it must be understood that Google, as a company, does things very differently – this isn’t your average “send us a resume via email” operation and in fact, I don’t believe the company even accepts resumes. It’s a totally different process with them, one that I wouldn’t personally be comfortable with but that’s all perspective.
At some point, Vaughn’s Billy character loses faith when a telephone sales test project amidst the groups – something him and Nick were experts in – turns into a disaster for the duo’s team after Billy forgets to enter some kind of log-in code so the calls can be reviewed and recorded by Chetty. With the team basically registering a zero for this test, Billy feels he isn’t benefitting the team at all and goes back to his old boss (Goodman) who claims he has a side sales gig for him. As Nick attempts to pick up the pieces and continue to work with the group of young techno-babble geeks that he still can’t relate to on any level, the duo eventually reteam with the kids for the final project in the internship: The teams must concentrate on selling a business advertising package on Google -- again, something right up Nick and Billy’s alley. Their team focuses on a local pizzeria and after some back-and-forthing between the owner and the geek squad attempting to sell them a cyberspace ad, the pizza shop operators agree and the team saves itself just in the nick of time back at Google headquarters. Of course now, the idea is that Nick and Billy have full-time jobs at Google – and Nick has found his way into the heart and arms of his crush Dana – but this element is never explored at the end of The Internship, instead suggesting to us that the geekiest and downright ugliest kid you’ll ever meet, “Lyle” (Josh Brener), has won the heart of the smokin’ hot model/dancer and dance instructor at Google, Marielena (the incredible Jessica Szohr) and is now dating her, the kids that were in Nick and Billy’s team have learned to communicate like human beings in complete sentences and Mr. Chetty himself has become overt fans of the misfit salesmen who once stumbled into Google as older, out-of-place reminders of a bygone era. Lame.
With Will Ferrell’s brief but side-splitting performance halfway in, the funny 80s-esque references made by Vaughn and Wilson to the completely out-of-context kids in their Google group and some other tidbits here and there (including a reference to “on-the-line” instead of “online” made by Vaughn’s character and which will become a commonplace joke amongst computer diagnostician types in the years to come, I’m sure), The Internship had its moments of solidity. Taken as a whole, it was a bit disappointing though and suggests scenarios that would never happen in a million years (the gorgeous dancer falling for the kid who’s 30 pounds soaking wet with pimples and Coke bottle glasses, etc.). I can’t really recommend this past a casual rental if you’re in the mood for a comedy.
However, I will say this – for those of us struggling in a constantly-changing, technologically revolutionary world, this film hits home and does so in a harsh way; it really opens your eyes to a landscape that suggests if you don’t adapt, you’ll “die,” meaning if you refuse to accept that the world is going the way of social media and handheld device-oriented frontier, you might as well pick out your cardboard box now and select the best corner of your city to live in because that’s your future.
And that, my ‘Shackster friends, is frightening.
[img]http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/culture_test/9941_mladji_referenti_3_Copy_.jpg[/img]VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?
Available for me to review only as a standard DVD, 20th Century Fox’s presentation of The Internship looked as good as this format will allow – bursting with the blue, green, red and yellow colors of the Google corporation and exhibiting clean, noise-free visuals from beginning to end, the standard DVD looked pretty amazing. Black levels were spot-on with rich, inky dark sequences and shadow detail galore, while I detected no edge enhancement or aliasing (jagged edging) problems. Raw detail would probably benefit more from the Blu-ray edition’s 1080p encode – including elements such as clothing stitches, facial hairs, facial close ups and the like – as here some of these aspects exhibited that typical “softish” DVD look…but considering this was a 480-line resolution upconversion via my Blu-ray player (to 1080p), the 2.35:1 transfer looked top-notch.
[img] http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/3/11/1363006244470/The-Internship-3-008.jpg[/img]AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?
20th Century Fox equipped the DVD version (on the Region 1 release) of The Internship with a surprisingly aggressive and rousing Dolby Digital 5.1 track that exhibited, at times, wallops of bass and an astonishing sense of presence and heft. Usually these types of comedic films are accompanied by ho-hum, dialogue-driven audio tracks that are there to simply get the job done – not so on this release. The nightclub sequences, in particular, were accompanied by a striking “you are there” characteristic that sucked me right into the middle of that dance floor while stunning female forms shook what their mamas gave ‘em amidst misting showers and other beautiful femme fatales of the night. The thumping from this Dolby Digital mix was truly surprising given the subject material, and while the track was on the lean side as far as surround cues went, the whole experience was very satisfying with clear, striking dialogue, a healthy sense of envelopment and great spread to the front three channels.
I wasn’t expecting what 20th Century Fox gave us here in the audio department with The Internship. I’m not saying this was the DTS mix of War of the Worlds or Saving Private Ryan – but it was a standout for its genre.
As always, fellow ‘Shacksters, thanks for reading! I will have my Blu-ray review of R.I.P.D. up tomorrow.