“The Internship” — There are really three movie stars headlining this movie: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Google. Actually, it’s a surprise Google doesn’t get top billing over the humans, so adoringly is the company displayed. But if you can get past this Mother of All Product Placements, you’ll likely find yourself chuckling a lot during Shawn Levy’s silly but warmhearted film, with a script by Vaughn and Jared Stern. Sure, it could be shorter, less predictable, more believable. But this is Vaughn and Wilson, and if their onscreen banter doesn’t quite live up to the 2005 “Wedding Crashers,” it’s still pretty darned funny. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), watch salesmen, lose their jobs, and implausibly apply for an unpaid internship at Google. Which they implausibly get. (Their job interview, via video chat, is one of the funniest scenes.) A stern supervisor (the terrific Aasif Mandvi) describes the “Hunger Games”-like contest ahead, with only the winning intern team attaining Google employment. (Perhaps because Google helped out with the film, it is never once questioned that this is the ultimate place to work — from the free food to the nap pods to the adult-sized slides.) Generation gap jokes abound. Vaughn’s Billy keeps saying “on the line” instead of “online” — really, if he knew enough about Google to apply there, wouldn’t he know the term “online”? Still, it’s amusing. Will Billy and Nick survive their trial-by-technology? Do we really need to ask? PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language. 119 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
—Jocelyn Noveck, AP National Writer
“Much Ado About Nothing” — Joss Whedon’s bare-bones contemporary adaptation is the cinematic equivalent of Shakespeare in the parking lot — and proof, again, that it doesn’t take much doing to bring Shakespeare to life. Whedon shot his “Much Ado” at his Los Angeles home over just 12 days immediately after production for a slightly larger film he directed: “The Avengers.” It’s almost surely the only time the Bard has been performed with a suburban golf course in the background. The verbal duel of “Much Ado” pits the proud bachelor Benedick (Alexis Denisof) against the quick-tongued Beatrice (Amy Acker), as they sling clever put-downs back and forth, even as they’re drawn together by their scheming friends. Most of the cast (including, memorably, Nathan Fillion as the bumbling Constable Dogberry and Clark Gregg as the governor Leonato) are long-time Whedonites, veterans from his TV shows (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and films. One would expect Whedon, given his knack for wordplay, to highlight the verbal joisting and really chew the play’s choice lines. But much of the acting doesn’t make the language pop (Denisof is particularly without snap) and the wan black-and-white photography bleaches the play of its snappiness. Acker gives a likable and lithe performance, even if its lacks the commanding presence Beatrice deserves. More effort, it feels, went into making the play feel natural than making it sing. This “Much Ado” (for which Whedon also composed the music) is best considered a charming dress rehearsal. PG-13 for some sexuality and brief drug use. 109 minutes. Two and half stars out of four.
— Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer