If I took anything away from The Internship it’s Google. Google is the omnipresent other character in the film. Google is the base of the film. If the film were a cake, Google would be both the flour and the icing. If the film were a body, Google would be the skeleton. If the film were good, it wouldn’t be so utterly smothered in Google. I googled ‘how to write a comedy movie script’ to better understand what the screenwriters were doing as filtered through the unspoken star of the film. Google led me to something titled ‘How to Write a Comedy Script: Tips from The Hangover’. The Hangover is a movie I hated less than The Internship so I read the article.
Comedy Script Screenwriting Tip #1: Employ reversals.
According to the site, “All comedy is based on reversals: taking audience expectations and subverting them.” Based on the cited examples from The Hangover, I think the best example of reversal from The Internship is “All the best comedic moments are in the trailer”. That absolutely subverted my expectation.
Comedy Script Screenwriting Tip #2: The big build up.
The Internship uses two hours to build up to a wholly predictable (and maudlin) conclusion.
Comedy Script Screenwriting Tip #3: Location, location, location. (These are the actual article titles. You’re welcome.)
The film’s location is Google. The Google campus. The Google offices. The Google grounds. The Google dorms. The Google cafeteria. The Google Quidditch field. And San Francisco where this Googleverse is housed. Is it real? Google it to find out. The film dares you to.
Comedy Script Screenwriting Tip #4: Look for the less obvious joke.
The less obvious joke doesn’t exist in The Internship. The formula is strict and the jokes all fall straight off the ‘fish out of water’ idea tree. It lines up all the clichés and knocks them over with dreary precision like dominos. There are no surprises. There is nothing new to see. There are not enough laughs.
Comedy Script Screenwriting Tip #5: Irony is king.
It opens with Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Ironic’.
There were a few funny moments in The Internship. There were more moments when I wanted Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to have a far better movie around them. A movie that doesn’t innately insult them and us by proxy. There is a sparkling charm to the two of them, especially when their patter is in full swing, and I have so much lingering affection for Owen Wilson because of Wes Anderson’s films. Eli Cash was a revelation. But The Internship does nothing with their combined charm. It doesn’t allow them to be either gloriously crass or deliriously sharp. It is simply a very long ad for Google as hosted by Owen and Vince. And then it ends.
~ Corinne Simpson