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Mr. Brown Verses The Internship

In 2005, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson stared in Wedding Crashers, a movie where two scheming Lotharios crash a high-end wedding for a politico's daughter, only to have Wilson's character, John, break several rules of the crashers' code, including falling in love with one of the bridesmaids, Clarie (Rachel McAdams) , whilst Jeremy, Vaughn's character, deals with a "stage five clinger" in Gloria (Isla Fisher). That movie was was a huge hit, both with critics and with audiences, as the film went on gross over $200 million domestically, becoming the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time, up until 2009 where The Hangover took over the coveted title. In 2013, the pair reunited for the first time since Wedding Crashers with The Internship, a movie which Vaughn himself wrote and produced. For the first five minutes, it looked like the comedic charisma between Vaughn and Wilson would be as solid as ever, with some funny jokes about Nick (Wilson) getting pumped for a big sales pitch by listening to Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", and a charming sequence as we see Nick and his partner, Billy (Vaughn) in action, trying to sell a client custom-made wrist watches. It's at this point where Billy and Nick confront their boss, Sammy (John Goodman) about being out of jobs, and where Nick uses the Terminator movies to make a point that people don't fully trust technology, that we realize this is going to be a dated, fish-out-of-water comedy, and that it's not going to be that much fun to watch.

Yes, they're stretching for jokes, why do you ask?
The duo apply for an internship at Google, because the company is known for hiring middle-aged men who know jack about computers or how to write and program code, and by the power of comedic contrivance,not only are they accepted, they're paired off with the outcasts of the summer internship program: Stewart, the sarcastic smart-ass who rarely ever looks away from his iPhone; Yo-Yo, the stereotypical Asian-American boy who's a math whiz and has an overbearing mother; Nela, an Indian-American girl who vaguely mirrors Alyson Hannigan's Michelle from the American Pie series, as a geek with a kinky side; and the team leader, Lyle, a member of Google who tries way too hard to act hip and cool in front of everyone. As bland and unoriginal as the supporting characters are (including the rival intern, Graham, played by Max Minghella of The Social Network fame), Wilson and Vaughn have it worse. In Wedding Crashers, their comic chemistry was infectious, and it made the characters of John and Jeremy more likable than they probably should have been. Their delivery was on-point and the jokes were hilarious because of it. In The Internship, the charm and the comedic interplay rarely shines through, and the comedy and pacing suffer as a result. Scenes of Vaughn and Wilson giving pep-talks to their teammates are frankly irritating and obnoxious to listen to, as they throw out vague motivational spiel and obscure 80's references to mask how woefully useless they are to their given assignments and tasks. It makes one wonder how they got into the internship in the first place and why don't they ask to dump their asses half-way through the movie and have done with it. (HINT: they begin to bond and they're usefulness really only comes towards the end with, you guessed it, sales and advertizing!)

There's plenty of geek and sex jokes (including one where Billy and Nick take Yo-Yo out for a lap dance and ends up jizzing in his pants several times over -- really), but there's no wit; there's no sense of playfulness with the delivery. They're so routine that one could easily spot the joke coming from a mile away. And the less said about the film's blatant product placement of Google, the better. The Internship is a recycled and uninspired comedy, coupled with a preposterous premise of two, late thirty somethings who get the chance of a lifetime to work for the most well-known search engine site, banking on the easygoing interplay between Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn to carry the film, when all it ends up doing is reminding you that you should ditch the duo's follow-up and watch Wedding Crashers instead.

(* 1/2 stars out of ****)

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