Billy McMahon (Vince Vaughn
) and Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson
) seek employment after being laid off from their positions as watch salesmen when their employer goes out of business. Billy then applies for an internship at Google for the two of them, and they are accepted due to their unorthodox interview answers, despite a lack of relevant experience; they are the only interns not of traditional collegiate age. They will spend the summer competing in teams against other interns, also known as "Nooglers" in a variety of tasks, and only the members of the winning team will be guaranteed jobs with Google. Billy and Nick are teamed with other interns seen as rejects: Stuart (Dylan O'Brien
), who is usually engrossed in his phone; Yo-Yo Santos (Tobit Raphael
), an Asian-American boy who was home schooled by a stereotypical overbearing Asian mother; and Neha (Tiya Sircar
), an Indian-American girl who is an enthusiast of nerd-related kink. The team is led by Lyle (Josh Brener
), who constantly tries to act hip in order to hide his insecurities. Another intern, Graham Hawtrey (Max Minghella
), aggressively bullies Billy and Nick's team. Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi
), the head of the internship program, also expresses his doubts about the older men's abilities. Stuart, Yo-Yo, and Neha see Billy and Nick as useless during a task focused on debugging, and send them on a wild goose chase but later, during a game of Muggle Quidditch against Graham's team, Billy rallies his team to a comeback that restores their confidence despite ultimately losing.
When the teams are tasked with developing an app, Billy and Nick convince the team to indulge in a wild night out. At a strip club, Neha admits to Billy that, despite her rich fantasy life, she has no real-world experience and is nervous; with his support, she decides to stay. Nick gets Yo-Yo to break out of his shell by drinking and receiving lap dances. And, encouraged by Billy, Lyle approaches one of the dancers, Marielena (Jessica Szohr
), who is also a dance instructor at Google on whom he had developed a crush. She is charmed by him, but another customer challenges Lyle for her attention and a fight breaks out; the team is ejected from the club. Before sunrise that same night, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Stuart learns to appreciate his surroundings, and Lyle's drunken antics inspire the team to create an app that guards against reckless phone usage while drunk; they win the task by earning the most downloads.
Meanwhile, Nick has been flirting with an executive, Dana (Rose Byrne
), with little success. When he begins attending technical presentations to impress her, he takes a real interest in the material. While the teams prepare to staff the technical support hotline, only Billy feels at a loss. A Google employee, "Headphones" (Josh Gad
), who always wears headphones and had not been seen to talk to anyone, approaches Billy and tells him that the way he interacts with people is special. He tutors Billy on the technical information. Dana agrees to go on a date with Nick, and she invites him in at the end of the evening. During the task, Billy is comfortable with the material, but his team receives no score because he failed to properly log his calls for review. Dejected, Billy leaves Google to pursue a new sales opportunity with his former boss (John Goodman
). The final task is announced as a sales challenge; teams must sign the largest possible company to begin advertising with Google. The team are stunned when Nick tells them that Billy has left, and they declare that they do not want to do the task without him. Nick convinces Billy to return, and Billy leads the team to show Sal, a local pizzeria owner (Bruno Amato
) how Google can help connect him with potential customers and how Internet resources can help him expand the business while remaining true to his professional values.
The team arrive during the final assembly just as the winners are to be announced; but the official rules allow them to present their results even at the last moment. Chetty recognizes that although the pizzeria is not a large business, its potential is now limitless because it has embraced technology. Graham protests and is dressed down by Headphones, who turns out to be the head of Google Search. Nick, Billy, Stuart, Yo-Yo, and Neha are declared the winners and will receive jobs at Google, which the latter three will start after their senior years in college. As the students depart, Nick and Dana are still seeing each other, as are Lyle and Marielena. Stuart and Neha have formed a romantic connection, as well, and Yo-Yo asserts himself to his mother.