Neil's News

The Internship

6 June 2013

Everyone at work just came back from a screening of The Internship. Briefly, it is a comedy about a couple of middle-aged salesmen who talk their way into becoming interns at Google.

There are some good points in the film. One bright spot is that they manage to steer clear of most of Hollywood's computer tropes. Screens don't project onto users' faces, email doesn't arrive one letter at a time, displays aren't 20 characters wide. Most of this accuracy comes as a result of avoiding much onscreen use of computers; the cast seems to prefer writing on glass walls with markers. Maybe they OCR it later.

The credits were also good. They were genuinely creative and entertaining. Plus they signaled that the movie was finally at an end.

Unfortunately there were some major bad points in the film. Most seriously, it just wasn't very funny. The best jokes were in the trailer. If one is going to spend $58 million on a comedy, it wouldn't hurt to spend some time to make the script funny.

And speaking as a Googler, I was disappointed that this film completely missed what Google is at its core. Google is depicted as a stereotypical American high school. There are arrogant jocks at the top of the social ladder, and lost misfits at the bottom. These misfits yearn to be popular, but don't have the confidence. Once taught to believe in themselves, they blossom. Ugh.

Google is the exact opposite. We are all the nerds from the bottom of American high school culture. And we are intensely proud of it. We don't believe in ourselves, we believe in data. When I came to Google I realised that for the first time in my life I was home. I'd found the rest of my species. There is a lot of room here for a good movie, but the producers closed their eyes and shot <Stock Script #7> instead.

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