As hard as it may be to explain how things worked in the Dark Ages of video borrowing (otherwise known as the Eighties), looking back it does not strike me of that much of a hardship to have actually had to go down to the store to rent a movie. Oh, depending on the hour you went, it might mean having to navigate around rabid fans out to grab their trophy the moment it landed on the shelves or groups of earnestly debating couples (“Honey, you’re renting that over my dead body!”), but otherwise it wasn’t too much of a chore. Of course, picking the right video could be hard if the store staff had decided to surround it with similar sounding titles, which they occasionally did. Usually, it was easy to avoid, but every now and then, you’d hear after getting back and kicking off your shoes, “Er, I think you brought the wrong one home.”
Fortunately, now that you can download movies that isn’t an issue anymore, though in the olden days, it might have been possible to pick “The Intern” when you really intended to get “The Internship.” Both have similar plots: a member of the older (but not always wiser) generation takes an internship and learns life lessons. “The Intern,” is the one where Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway (his boss) have the world’s most awkward, non-sex bed scene ever, while “The Internship,” is the one which features Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson who join the Google team and give a pep talk using “Flashdance,” to a group of baffled millennials. (One might think they’d get a better reaction referencing “Rocky”, but perhaps not in this serious-as-a-heart-attack-about-their-future-careers group.) This happens after Vince and Owen lose their jobs as traveling watch salesmen and after a brief unsuccessful stint as mattress salesmen, manage to land an internship with Google, along with a group of said anxious millennials, which include Josh Brener, Dylan O’Brien, Tija Sircar and Tobit Raphael. Though Vince and Owen are psyched to be at Google, they have a lot of learning to do, and some growing up along the way. In order to navigate the cross-generational divide, the two will slowly enter the twenty-first century, while the young ‘uns will eventually come to value the art of relaxation and hanging out.
If you happened to see last year’s “The Meddler,” in which Susan Sarandon’s character spends approximately 60 percent of her time in an Apple Store buying Apple products, it pales next to a film in which the main setting’s an actual Internet company. Google, as presented in the movie, is Willy Wonka’s Land of Pure Imagination but with massage chairs and gadgets that everyone can use. Such delights please our two main characters, but soon they realize they need to focus in order to complete the series of tests and be rewarded with a full-time job. This involves love interests (Rose Byrne), a trip to a bar/strip club, many late nights of hitting the books (so to speak), and one crisis of confidence, but ends in triumph. Josh Gad, lately heard as the voice of the canines in “A Dog’s Purpose,” plays an unexpected ally to the team, and Max Minghella plays a villain who gets his come-uppance. Overall, it’s one of those movies where true plausibility takes a back seat but is entertaining for a couple of hours anyway.