Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: The Intern

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
Let's get this out of the way first: no, Nancy Meyers' "The Intern" does not exist in a particularly realistic world and, yes, if Robert De Niro's character were any more upright, he'd be a lamppost. That being said, the film charmed me more than I'd expected it to, largely because of its good nature, but also due to De Niro's likability and screen presence.

In the film, De Niro plays Ben Whitaker, a retiree without many hobbies or friends and whose wife died a few years prior. Ben, who was previously an executive at a phonebook printing company, has a hole in his life and he decides to fill it by taking part in a senior citizen internship program at an up-and-coming online clothing retail company that is headed by Jules (Anne Hathaway), a workaholic with little time to suffer fools.

You can't quite call the film a rom com since romance has little to do with it, but how about a friend-com? And since this film is one of those, the story naturally involves De Niro's optimist becoming friends with his tightly wound boss, who, as it turns out, has a few struggles she needs to work through.

De Niro has been in comedies before and he's a funny guy (and, of course, a terrific actor), but I never remember him playing someone so, well, sweet before. Ben is the type of person who goes out of his way to help those in his immediate circle - in this case, his co-workers and boss.

As I'd mentioned before, his unfailing uprightness and willingness to help virtually anyone who asks at any given moment make his character border on the unbelievable. But this film has its heart in the right place and I can't fault it for that, especially considering that I saw the film in a double feature with "The Green Inferno."

Hathaway is also good here, playing a strong career woman whose work struggles (it's a long story, but she's searching for a CEO for her company) occasionally block out her problems at home - she has a young daughter and a husband, who, let's say, has some faults.

Meyers has made a career of crafting genial comedies about relationships and the differences between men and women - sometimes successfully ("What Women Want" and "Something's Gotta Give") and other times less so ("The Holiday"). "The Intern" is a charming film and a good natured one. It may require some occasional suspension of disbelief, but the picture is so polished and cheerful, that it's difficult not to oblige.

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