Reel Critics: This 'Intern' should go unpaid

Vince Vaughn has been a purveyor of lowbrow humor for many years. He tries again as producer, writer and actor in "The Internship." He uses the occasion to renew his "Wedding Crashers" partnership with Owen Wilson.

They play aging, unemployed salesmen in need of a new start in the digital age. The buddies get an unlikely opportunity to intern at the legendary Google company headquarters, competing against sharp young college students. The product placement is so intense, there is hardly a scene that does not contain the Google logo in one form or another.

Wilson continues his penchant for delivering phony sincerity and childish dialogue with a straight face. There are a few hilarious moments. But the laughs are separated by long stretches of unfunny nonsense to fill the overlong two-hour running time.

Vaughn's screenplay throws in a crude and totally unnecessary visit to a raunchy strip club with the young interns. It really pushes this PG-13 into R-rated territory.

It's a wonder that a hip company like Google would allow its cutting edge brand to be displayed so vividly in the service of a shallow comedy as lame as this one.


'Purge' your nasty urge

What could be more nightmarish — neighbors eager to kill you and your family, or a society that allows them to legally do so?

This is the bizarre, frightening premise for "The Purge" that, in spite of some predictability, raises as many moral questions as primal instincts.

It's 2022, and unemployment and crime are nearly extinct. The government believes allowing citizens to satisfy their bloodthirsty, violent urges for one night a year keeps everyone calmer and more trustworthy, and America gets that "morning in America" feeling once again.

One evening before the purge is about to begin, James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is driving home, greeting his neighbors with wishes for a "good purge." James plans to spend the evening watching the event on multiple TV screens with his lovely wife (Lena Headey) and two children like it was the Super Bowl.

He's not worried about their safety, because his high-tech home security system is the same one he sold to the entire gated community where he lives.

Promptly at 7 p.m., the Sandins go on lockdown for 12 hours. Gunshots, screams, people dancing down the street wearing bizarre masks wielding machetes and guns bring a chill down the spine. And it's only going to get worse.

"The Purge" kept me in a state of queasy tension. As the Sandins grapple with a kill-or-be-killed kind of hell, you wonder what choices you'd make under the same circumstances.

What seems more terrifying is: Once the purge has ended, how do you cope with the aftermath? How can you not live in fear and distrust knowing those around you are capable of such bloodlust? Morning in America, indeed.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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