Monday, 1 July 2013

Message in the movie: The Internship

The Internship (aka Google's new feature film length marketing message!)

Reviews from friends, who actually reside in the valley of Silicon, were unanimous. The new Vince Vaughan/Owen Wilson movie was a train wreck. I know a few people who even walked out. So, I viewed my free, premier tickets from Times+ as a low risk investment! I told the friend who went with me that we could leave whenever it got too bad. There was a slew of bad stuff but we stayed.

Here's why.

The Internship  is packed with all the ingredients, sex, drugs, rock and roll....and even a point. Getting past the first three obscures this crucial fact but the denouement, eventually makes it worthwhile. Mind you, this is not a direct consequence of several things including:

-   the unnecessary, gratuitous sex and barroom brawl type violence. While someone, somewhere still thinks these will turn a turkey into box office gold, those parts still felt all wrong. 

-   of it being at least a half an hour too long or that the first Vaughan/Wilson reunion since 2005 managed to rewring every lick of acting talent out of those two.

-   of it being overly clever. Think Wedding Crashers meets University Challenge.  Despite being a running cliche it ticks boxes and pricks emotions in a shameless rework of the best parts of Vaughan's 2004 underdog triumph,  Dodge Ball. There is even a nod to Harry Potter via a quidditch match thus providing some cross generational appeal. Like I said, it has everything.

And why it succeeds is because the message to every working-wounded-human out there, is simple: Stop thinking about retiring because for most of us, that is likely to be impossible. Rewarding ourselves for stopping is no longer a reasonable option and to be honest that is a good thing. Keeping bodies and gray matter active and moving is the only way forward. Meanwhile, that is not just a message for the baby boomers, Owen (44) and Vince (43) are relative youngsters in their roles as has been's.
 
I actually think it would have made for a nice change to have seen a couple of women trying to make it into Google. Juggling child rearing and ageing relative caring, while showing what it takes to make a new start (with humor!) would have been harder, but it would have broadened the appeal. While you would need big names like Sandra Bullock (48) and maybe even some official boomers like Sharon Stone (55), the ubiquitous Meryl Streep (64) or Susan Sarandon (66) to carry the film, I think it may have made it that much sharper and a bit more accurate.

In the end, The Internship succeeds. It starts a new thread to the debate about shifting perceptions and changing boundaries. It even speaks to the limits or the extent of wisdom. But while we cogitate boundaries, there is immediacy and urgency required - reset expectations, reskill, be resilient, reap new benefits. Ready, steady, GO!

--
Deborah Gale
@ageaficionados
www.ageingaficionados.com

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