Google has debuted on the big screen as part of the ensemble in the comedy film “The Internship,” starring the duo Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn of “Wedding Crashers” fame. The new movie revolves around two unemployed salesmen who become Google interns.
Last month, the search giant invited its employees and interns and the media at the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco for a special private screening. After watching the film, the press no longer needed to state the obvious. It confirmed their doubt that “The Internship” is a Hollywood sales pitch for Google.
NOTE: Some spoilers hereafter.
With the movie centering on Google, it is natural to showcase the company’s products end-to-end. In some parts, “The Internship” covers a couple of Google products and services: Android smartphones, Google Docs, Google+ Hangouts, Gmail, Search, a Samsung Chromebook, and its self-driving car.
While there are no Microsoft devices in the film, some actors used Apple Macbook Pro laptops. Technology and pop culture are widely distributed throughout the film. There are references to Facebook, Instagram, X-Men, and more.
Google CTO and co-founder Sergey Brin has two cameo appearances, including one where he talks.
“The Internship” director Shawn Levy said during the post-screening interview that he wanted to Google’s portrayal to be as reliable and bona fide as possible. But he made the internship of the actors a more competitive procedure compared to its real-life counterpart. He did this to focus on the story of two unemployed men who are looking for a new career, and because the film is not about Google itself. The character of actor Owen Wilson describes the intership as the metal version of “Hunger Games.” The two protagonists, played by Wilson and Vaughn, struggle to compete in a series of challenges to land a full-time position at Google.
Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land reacted to a scene featuring a Google Helpline, where interns have to help customers who often call to solve problems related to Google products and services. Sullivan believes the Helpline scene may be a disservice to the search giant. Google does not have a helpline of sorts. If it does exist, Google is doing a great job to keep the helpline a secret from the outside world.
Both actors and the director shared that movigoers will learn some things from the comedy film. They said “The Internship” shares the hopes of people who want to search for new ways to improve their lives. Levy said that his job allowed him to see how Googlers do their best to make life easier and better for Internet users.
The film also features two generations of people who work together, and about Googlers, and employees in general, who work too hard in their work that they forget to pause and see life as it passes by. According to Levy, the film teaches people to face challenges in life even with little hope remaining and with a pile of hitches. He said “The Internship” is about standing up and holding up dreams.
The Wilson-Vaughn tandem makes “The Internship” a hilarious feel-good-movie that will cater to people who are looking for a good laugh, specially those who had a busy day at work.
In one way or another, Google had to get involved because the film reflects and promotes its culture and ethics to the world. Google CEO Larry Page said the film will spread his hopes that people have to take more interest in technology and share these interests with other people.
The search giant has taken a major role in the movie’s production. It helped the cast recreate its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia for set used in the filming. The Los Angeles Times wrote that real Googlers were in the film as extras, helped design the end credits, and the movie featured product placements Google.
Even though some people will think that more tech companies will use Hollywood as a new marketing channel, there is no escaping the possibility for that to happen. Facebook released “The Social Network” and Apple has created at least two movies, so far, to tell the life story of Steve Jobs.