REVIEW: THE INTERNSHIP

Starring

Vince Vaughn (The Break-Up)
Owen Wilson (Zoolander)
Josh Brener (Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Dylan O’Brien (American Assassin)
Tiya Sircar (The Good Place)
Tobit Raphael (Saint George)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Max Minghella (Horns)
Aasif Mandvi (Movie 43)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Eric André (2 Broke Girls)
John Goodman (Red State)
Jessica Szohr (The Orvilel)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Joanna García Swisher (Ameircan Pie 2)
Will Ferrell (Get Hard)
Gary Anthony Williams (I’m Sorry)
Chasty Ballesteros (Final Destination 5)

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)Salesmen Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell’s employer goes out of business, and Billy applies for Google internships on their behalf. They are accepted due to their unorthodox interview answers, despite a lack of relevant experience. They are the only interns not of traditional collegiate age. They will spend the summer competing in teams against other interns in a variety of tasks, and only the members of the winning team will be guaranteed jobs with Google. Billy and Nick are teamed with other interns seen as rejects: Stuart, who is usually engrossed in his smart phone; Yo-Yo, who was homeschooled by his tiger mother; and Neha, an enthusiast of nerd-related kink. The team leader Lyle constantly tries to act hip to hide his insecurities. Another intern, Graham, bullies Billy and Nick’s team. Roger Chetty, the head of the internship program, also expresses his doubts about the older men’s abilities. Stuart, Yo-Yo, and Neha see Billy and Nick as useless during a task focused on debugging and send them on a wild-goose chase for the fictional Charles Xavier at Stanford University. But later, during a game of Quidditch against Graham’s team, Billy rallies his team to a comeback that unifies them as a team, despite ultimately losing after Graham cheats.Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)When the teams are tasked with developing an app, Billy and Nick convince the team to indulge in a wild night out. At a strip club, Neha admits to Billy that, despite her rich fantasy life, she has no real world experience and is nervous. With his support, she decides to stay. Nick gets Yo-Yo to break out of his shell by drinking and receiving lap dances. Encouraged by Billy, Lyle approaches one of the dancers, Marielena, who is also a dance instructor at Google on whom he had developed a crush. She is charmed by him, but another customer challenges Lyle for her attention and they fight, getting the team kicked out. Before sunrise, Stuart learns to appreciate his surroundings while overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and Lyle’s drunken antics inspire the team to create an app that guards against reckless phone usage while drunk. They win the task by earning the most downloads.Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)Meanwhile, Nick has been flirting with an executive, Dana, with little success. When he begins attending technical presentations to impress her, he develops an interest in the material. While the teams prepare to staff the technical support hotline, only Billy feels at a loss. A Google employee, “Headphones,” who always wears headphones and never socializes, approaches Billy and tells him that the way he interacts with people is special. He tutors Billy on the technical information. Dana agrees to go on a date with Nick, and she invites him in at the end of the evening. During the task, Billy is comfortable with the material, but his team receives no score because he failed to properly log his calls for review. Dejected, Billy leaves Google to pursue a new sales opportunity with his former boss. The final task is announced as a sales challenge. Teams must sign the largest possible company to begin advertising with Google. The team is stunned when Nick tells them that Billy has left, and they declare that they do not want to do the task without him. Nick convinces Billy to return, and Billy leads the team to show a local pizzeria owner how Google can help him interact with potential customers and thereby expand his business, while remaining true to his professional values.Chetty is about to announce that Graham’s team have won, when Billy, Nick, and their team arrive to give a dynamic presentation about their new client. Chetty recognizes that although the pizzeria is not a large business, its potential is limitless because it is expanding via technology. Graham protests and is dressed down by Headphones, who turns out to be the head of Google Search. Nick and Billy’s team win the challenge and the guaranteed jobs. Graham berates his team, who finally reject him. As the students depart, Nick and Dana are still seeing each other, as are Lyle and Marielena. Stuart and Neha have formed a romantic connection as well with Stuart promising to see her in person rather than texting her, and Yo-Yo asserts himself to his mother. Billy and Nick toast their success.Not the funniest movie around, but fun nonetheless. Highly recommended if you want to take a sneak peak at Googleplex and some of its cool features, and if you love Vaughn-Wilson combination.

REVIEW: BLADES OF GLORY

 

CAST

Will Ferrell (Zoolander)
Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Jenna Fischer (Slither)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Luciana Carro (Falling Skies)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Rob Corddry (Operation: Endgame)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)

Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Professional figure skating is a subject so ripe for cinematic satire that it’s truly a wonder that ‘Blades of Glory’ is first big budget comedy to exploit it. The costumes, the music, the pageantry, the preening — as much as we may watch in awe as the enormously talented athletes create magic on the ice, it’s hard not to also stifle a giggle at the grandiose excess of it all.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Much the same way he did with formula one racing in “Talladega Nights” Will Ferrell lampoons the sport to great effect with ‘Blades of Glory.’ This fantastically silly, utterly preposterous comedy was the sleeper hit of early 2007, grossing over $100 million and for once delivering all the laughs its trailers promised.

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Ferrell stars as Chazz Michael Michaels, an uber-hetero world-class figure skating champion (and adult film star, but nevermind that). After a on-rink run-in with his rival, the angel-cheeked skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, not straying too far from his classic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ persona), both are stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. However, after a few desperate years stuck on the has-been, quasi-celebrity skating circuit, the two find a loophole that will allow them to qualify as the world’s first all-male pairs team. Here is where ‘Blades of Glory’ could have simply been another of those one-joke movies — nothing more than a series of cringe-inducing homophobic barbs about how funny men in tights are. But if ‘Blades of Glory’ isn’t exactly high-brow, Ferrell and Heder find just the right tone in satirizing not “gayness,” but instead the male discomfort with the sexual stereotypes of “effeminate” sports like figure skating. Ferrell in particular creates such a hyper-masculine alpha male in Chazz — one who’s overcompensating to a ridiculous degree, that it becomes truly inspired social commentary. ‘Blades of Glory’ is actually quite astute, even sublime, in skewering male anxieties.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)The film also doesn’t limit itself to obvious satire by having a field day with the highly-competitive nature of Olympic sports. Fulfilling the villain requirement are Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, a brother-sister team of rival German skaters who will do anything to defeat Chazz and Jimmy. As played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (who also happen to be married off-screen), they’re like Boris and Natasha on ice, twirling their mustaches as they hatch a series of increasingly bizarre schemes. It all leads to an extended chase sequence, as Stranz chases Chazz over ice, through a crowded shopping mall and finally onto the rink in a madcap bit of lunacy that is one of the movie’s highlight sequences.MV5BMTU3NjYxNzc1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUyMjI0Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_If ‘Blades of Glory’ were only spandex and slapstick, however, it probably would have been nothing more than a second-rate “SNL” sketch that quickly wore out its welcome. But typical of Ferrell’s more recent penchant for humanistic comedy over sheer satire, he sets the tone for the rest of the film by plumbing some genuine (if completely ridiculous) pathos out of these larger-than-life characters. When Chazz is forced to endure a stint inside a giant furry animal costume in the kiddie spectacular “Grumlets on Ice” (a pitch-perfect parody of those awful Icecapades shows), he somehow manages to make it simultaneously sad, touching, and hilarious. Indeed, we will come to like all of the characters in ‘Blades of Glory,’ because however over-the-top they may be, there is a kernel of recognition to even their most outlandish behavior that rings true. Of course, ‘Blades of Glory’ is ultimately impervious to critical analysis, because it aims to be nothing more than just a very funny movie. It takes a sport that just cries out to be made fun of, hits the laugh bull’s-eye more than it misses.