The Internship: Google's way of crashing everyone's momentum in techChase Bonar - Contributing Editor
Rule #10 is clearly not a problem for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in their new Hollywood gig The Internship. But as interns at Google, it's obvious that their journey amongst the brightest and youngest techies will not be smooth, mainly because of their age. There's only one thing funnier than watching someone get frustrated with technology, and that's watching it happen on the big screen.
If Director Shawn Levy can get one solid review of The Internship, Google will hold a competitive advantage against their arch-rival, Apple. A positive review will go a long way for a company whose mascot is a robot. After all, robots are not as funny and light-hearted as Apples. One of Android's primary struggles is a lack of accessibility to the older demographic. Here's to hoping Google can even the playing field with their portrayal as fun, innovative, and a really, really smart company.
The last time Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn geared up to do a movie it was for Wedding Crashers - a comedy about two guys who disguise themselves as distant relatives in order to score with single ladies at weddings. It's a simple and witty premise that displayed Vaughn and Wilson's chemistry on-camera.
Wedding Crashers had something for everyone. Will Ferrell's supporting role as a funeral crasher was epic. His advice? Crashing weddings takes 3 to 4-months, but funerals are year round, so crash funerals instead. Owen Wilson's advice to Vince Vaughn's character Jeremy was a bit less risky. Try not to show off on the dance floor (at a wedding). This means you, Jeremy.
Then there's my personal favorite wedding crasher rule: Rule #58 - The Ferrari's in the shop.
Now, regardless of your opinion of the movie, Vaughn and Wilson are gunning full-steam ahead with The Internship. And I have high hopes for it. The plot is simple: two 40-something-year old salesmen just laid off because of the digital age end up with coveted internships at Google, where they're competing with the younger generation for a shot at employment.
In other words, there's plenty of room for sex jokes, tech jokes and ridiculousness that we've come to expect from the two.
You can see the trailer here.
Judging soley by the trailer, it seems Vaughn and Wilson might be trying a bit too hard to portray themselves as an older generation in a younger's world's playing field. So, I'll keep my comedic expectations low. Where the movie will garner attention is in Google's exposure. Most of the film was shot at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Portraying Google and their products on home soil will outline the enthusiasm their mascot struggles with. While I don't view Google as a mysterious tech giant, many do and The Internship should help Google.
It's important to note that this isn't the only tech-driven movie to hit Hollywood. The Social Network was a movie centered around Mark Zuckerberg's rise through the early Facebook and the challenges along the way. It was a success among the younger crowd despite critic's opinions of it. The plot was relevant, the acting was mildly effective, and it was significant in depicting how cut-throat start-up's can be.
But Facebook doesn't make a mobile operating system. They're just the biggest social networking site in the world. So, they're not a direct competitor to Google.
Then there's Apple's story. Ashton Kutcher's portrayal of Steve Jobs in jOBS follows Apple's rise to fame in the shoes of their acclaimed entrepreneur and CEO. However, it's off to a rocky start with the first viewing at the Sundance Festival bringing in mixed reviews. This is not the sort of publicity any company needs when they're being criticized of stalling innovation the past few years.
Having said this, Apple and even Samsung's marketing efforts have been more successful than Google's lately. Whether you carry around a Chromebook, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10, Apple's portrayal of the iPhone 5 is clearly a more effective approach to brand marketing. Where Hollywood comes into play is in the perception of each company. Where jOBS will garner attention is through the portrayal of their CEO. It will be a different approach to marketing one of the most successful companies in the world. With The Internship, Google will be on display as a successful company which will help them market Android and Google as an approachable and user-friendly company. It's exactly what they need.
In an interview with Bloomberg, director Shawn Levy says Google's cooperation was free and "not a financial partnership." Quite admirable for a company to completely hand over their headquarters to Levy and his production team. Levy also alludes to a cameo of Google's Project Glass and Google's driverless cars in The Internship.
Perfect timing since Google's I/O event is in May and the movie hits theaters the month after.
In the same interview, Bloomberg hears from Vince Vaughn as well. He says "being from the mid-west, Google always seemed like a 'Wizard of Oz' with it's intramural sports, nap pods and massages." Bloomberg also reports that The Internship will have a traditional theatrical release and a Google Hangout-themed release online which will showcase one of Google's many free services.
Google already hosted Conan O'Brien's Google Hangout interview with Owen and Vince, so it's clear that Google is making every use to prelude their time on the big screen.
Anyway, this isn't a comparison of two movies that no one has seen yet. That would be pointless. Likewise, it would be pointless not to consider the extent to which Apple and Google pervade our lives. And it's about to get deeper as each company takes to the big screen.
I'm interested to hear how you feel about the movie. The Internship looks set to do well in theaters when it is released in June simply because of Google's penetration into our digital lives. Pair that with Owen and Vince's tendency to bring humor to any situation and you have a relatable comedic playbook. Do you think Google will benefit from the comedy and exposure The Internship will provide? What advantage, if any, does a movie play in a company's success? Speak up in the comments below!