Director: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Nat Wolff, Adam Devine, Andrew Rannells, Reid Scott
Rated: PG-13 (some suggestive content and brief strong language)
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.
By Matt Greene
The Intern is like a mild salsa: filling, healthy and satisfying without a whole lot of flavor or fear of heartburn. Luckily, that potential blandness is rendered effective through some gentle melancholy, soft humor, and genuinely entertaining performances throughout. Instead of another shallow dramedy, we’re presented with properly complex adult issues, like aging, loneliness, marriage, and career, told with sincerity and a healthy amount of Hollywood heart.
The tone can be summed up in one word: cute. Sure, it’s a comedy, but its jokes don’t really inspire uproarious guffaws as much as they do crooked, polite grins. This isn’t an altogether bad thing, as we watch the blossoming friendship between distraught internet mogul Hathaway and her aged apprentice, De Niro. Their relationship at times feels a bit forced, overly quirky and predictable. While this renders the movie a little long (2 SOLID hours), the centering presence of the surprisingly likable De Niro pushes this above your average PG-13 comedy.
Director Meyers has always made movies whose highest aspiration seems to be “pleasantness” (The Holiday, The Parent Trap). Up until now, I’ve yet to find her slight brand of grown-up humor appealing. The Intern isn’t much different in spirit, yet somehow it works. Sure, it was a bit awkward at times, like a person acting too young for their age, but along with the gentle jokes and personal drama, there are actually some nice visual flourishes in the crisp editing and directing. Much like last month’s pop hit, The Intern’s inoffensive brand of entertainment will fall right off your brain when you leave, yet be catchy and familiar enough to divert you during its runtime.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Hollywood almost never lacks subtlety and it’s often frustrating watching something predictably sweet and good happen on screen as an unwelcomed fantasy masquerading as realistic optimism. Perhaps part of what makes “The Intern” tolerable is that it makes no claim to be anything more than fantasy while still retaining an edge absent from most Hollywood-fare.
Following 70 year-old Ben (Robert De Niro) as he begins an internship at a local internet startup company run by precocious young Jules (Anne Hathaway). Jules is overwhelmed by the growth of the company and overwhelming to all those around her. Good natured Ben struggles to find his footing, eventually finding purpose as a calming influence to Jules. At various points it’s a not-so-subtle yet consistent film about women in the workplace and a marginally funny film about generational differences, but also a sound film about confident people responding to situations taking them out of their comfort-zones.
The always present feminism both serves and detracts from the film, but ultimately settles in as an ally allowing for some surprising moments of tenderness. It is troubling to have a movie so outwardly consumed with social concerns to be so blindingly white. The business at the center of the film has over 200 employees and it seems all escaped the grasp of affirmative action.
Comically, “The Intern” hits its mark more often than not. Their workplace looks like Pinterest threw up and millennials were hired to swim in its mess. Ben is certainly a fish out of water. Dramatically, “The Intern” has more bite than expected and seems as honest as a film like this can be expected to be, aided by its superior acting.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars