Remember when Google was all about “Don’t Be Evil”?
Those days are over. Warning: Spoilers within.
Remember that movie?
You know the one, where the fish out of water ends up in an unfamiliar environment with a group of socially awkward types in an environment headed up by a stern authority figure, facing off against a group of over-privileged types in a series of wacky challenges, with it all coming down to a final challenge, where they may or may not triumph against the odds, but important life lessons will be imparted? Also, there will be some gross-out moments, some team bonding, and maybe some breasts?
Of course you do. That’s the plot of any number of coming of age comedies. It’s a tried and tested formula, and while it’s all rather cliché, it can be satisfying if delivered well.
Well, The Internship is that exact movie, laid up against a whole lot of Google product placement. Actually, I’ll go further than that. You know what a Googol is, right? If not, use Bing to search it out, because Google certainly doesn’t need any more mentions after The Internship. Roughly speaking, a Googol is the number of times that Google products, logos or services get mentioned in this flick, and never in anything but the most glowing terms.
Speaking of glowing, everything at Google TOTALLY glows. I mean it’s lit to within an inch of sunny perfection EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY AND EVEN INTO THE NIGHT. I was so extraordinarily distracted by how amazingly well lit the entire Googleplex was that at certain points I just stared at the setting, trying to work out where the lights would have to be for it to glow quite so much. Of course it glows, though, because while our heroes may have their flaws — some of them are socially nervous, because that’s champagne comedy RIGHT THERE — nothing at Google could be anything less than teeth-grindingly perfect.
Even a session in a help desk environment, where there might be some, say, problems with Google services is resolved with witty banter and easily found solutions. Because, you know, Google. Google. Google.
That’s it. Drink it in deep, because you’ll certainly be hammered repeatedly over the skull with Google by the time The Internship is over. OK, to be fair, there’s a few competitor products in there, with some sightings of (gasp!) Apple laptops, but that’s in-between all the mentions of Drive, Chrome, Google Play, Gears, etc, etc, etc. They even invent Google products, going all the way back to “reinvent” Google Mail Goggles, because drunk equals funny. Better not mention how Google actually canned that product in real life though, right?
The Internship is a temple of Google intermittently broken up with hamfisted anal sex jokes, hamfisted jokes at the expense of the socially awkward, weirdly dated Harry Potter sequences, lots of Flashdance references and pizza. Astonishingly, Vince Vaughan claims story credit for this particular flick, but by the time you take out the clichéd plot and Google references, you’d be left with…. actually, I don’t know.
Probably just Vince Vaughan staring at the screen for two hours, intermittently shrugging his shoulders. I guess that’s the bit he came up with to deserve a story credit.
I should point out at this time that I attended a screening as part of a media event rather than paying for a ticket, and even the trailer alone had told me that this probably wasn’t my kind of flick, but, essentially, I was already there, so I figured why not see if it can perhaps dredge up a laugh or two. I only found one, which I’ll get to in a second.
But first, want to see The Internship? Quick, watch the trailer.
Now, go browse about a dozen Google product sites. Maps, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Image Search, Reader (if you’re quick). It really doesn’t matter, as long as you spend about ten minutes staring at each until you feel the pixels blending into your vision, and then stare DIRECTLY into an LED bulb so you get that properly dazzled effect that the completely luminous (and did I mention they’re WONDERFUL) Google campus gives off. By the way. Google. Google. Google. Google. Google.
You’ve just seen The Internship, and I’ve saved you twenty or so dollars.
To be fair, there were some in the screening I was in laughing their heads off, and humour is a relative thing, so maybe it just wasn’t for me. Or maybe they were really, really drunk. The subject matter should be right up my alley, but instead I just sat there and waited for it to finish. At the end I wasn’t laughing, or learning. I was just two hours older.
The only thing that I found funny, in a very bleak humour kind of way, was the underlying subtext of the whole American “Internship”, and how only competing against each other in a demeaning and completely unpaid way for a company worth untold BILLIONS for a measly few jobs that they choose to dole out is somehow an admirable idea. Now, that’s comedy, in the Mel Brooks “You fell down a manhole and died” kind of way. It’s funny, because they’re struggling, and they’re not us. Hee. Hee. Ha. Ha.