'Internship' is a feel-good movie making Google look like nirvana

2013-06-06T00:00:00Z 'Internship' is a feel-good movie making Google look like nirvanaFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
June 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

SAN FRANCISCO - This scene isn't in the movie, but it might have been fitting if "The Internship" had ended with stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson wearing ruby-red shoes while clicking their heels and dreamily whispering, "There's no place like Google; there's no place like Google."

The new comedy depicts Google as corporate America's equivalent of the Emerald City from "The Wizard of Oz" - a colorful place where all the food is free, interesting people and gadgets loom around every corner and dreams can come true for those who think big enough, work hard enough and collaborate as a team to make it happen.

It's a nearly two-hour showcase for Google's idealistic culture and for a product line that's becoming deeply ingrained in people's technology-dependent lives.

"The Internship," which hits theaters Friday, will likely be a hit among Google-loving geeks and fans of feel-good flicks, especially those with an affinity for the riffing and mirthful chemistry between Vaughn and Wilson.

But the film may not create such warm and fuzzy feelings among Google critics who view the company as a self-interested bully that tramples over copyrights, intrudes into people's privacy and stifles competition by abusing its power as the Internet's main gateway.

All of these concerns have been the focal points of high-profile regulatory investigations and lawsuits. Yet none of that is raised in the movie.

Everyone enamored with Google Inc. after seeing the movie should keep one thing in mind.

"This is not a documentary on Google where you come in and say, 'This is exactly the way things are done there,' " Vaughn says.

Silicon Valley hasn't come off so well in recent Hollywood portrayals, but that's far from the case in "The Internship."

It has a much sunnier outlook than the 2010 movie about Facebook, "The Social Network," which had overtones of financial maneuvering, lawsuits and even social isolation.

In part, that's because "The Internship" is a fictional story, not a biopic about real tech executives and their flaws. Nor is it a docudrama about real-life antitrust investigations or privacy complaints.

It also didn't hurt that Google chose to cooperate closely with the film's director and producers, letting them film for six days at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. - other scenes were shot on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta - and providing extensive technical advice on props, staging, dialogue - even the equations scribbled on the sets' walls.

Google didn't have authority over the film's final cut, said director Shawn Levy, who said he told company executives "it was going to be audacious, and it needed to be irreverent and take licenses" but wouldn't be mean-spirited.

The Associated Press and the San Jose Mercury News contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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