Friday, September 18, 2015

“The Intern”– Movie Review




This week, I attended a New York Times Film Club screening of the new comedy, “The Intern”, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.


When a retiree becomes an intern at a start-up company headed by a young woman, can his decades of experience help her navigate through the rough waters of her personal and professional life?


As a widower and recent retiree, Ben (De Niro) is finding himself both bored and lonely.  He’s tried finding various things to occupy his time, but he still seems restless.  That’s when he happens upon a flyer in his Brooklyn neighborhood about a local company looking to hire senior citizens to work as interns.  While finding the technology behind the application process a bit daunting, he nevertheless winds up securing a spot in the company, with the unenviable task of interning for the founder, Jules (Hathaway).  Since Jules is notoriously difficult, Ben’s work is definitely cut out for him. 

Right off the bat, Jules proves resistant to Ben’s offers to assist and be kept busy – but after years of working in the corporate world, Ben knows how to be a go-getter; instead of waiting for projects to be handed to him, he turns proactive and takes on responsibilities the younger employees would not.  Recognizing Ben’s initiative, Jules is eventually won over and begins to trust him with more important and highly visible duties.  Before too long, Jules allows Ben to become closer to not only her, but her husband and daughter as well.

Soon, Ben learns that all is not as well with Jules as she would have everyone believe.  For one thing, her company’s Board of Directors wants her to hire a Chief Executive Officer; she’s understandably wary about this because it means she’d have less control over her own company.  At home, her marriage may be falling apart; when her husband turns out to be cheating, Jules becomes increasingly concerned about how she’ll be able to balance work with being a single parent.  Can Ben step up and use his knowledge and wisdom to help Jules with both her company and marriage?


Who is the key demographic for “The Intern”?  (A.) Geezers who yearn to feel relevant; (B.) Young women with Daddy Issues; (C.) Anyone who enjoys watching Anne Hathaway cry for two solid hours; or (D.) Folks who need a warm and fuzzy flick with a happy ending.  The answer (as though you haven’t already guessed) is of course (E.) All Of The Above.  For viewers wanting chewing gum for the mind that doesn’t feature a superhero from Marvel Comics, “The Intern” is a perfect choice.  On the other hand, folks in the mood for a sophisticated, edgy comedy are best advised to look elsewhere.

Sadly, “The Intern” is about as modern as a pogo stick and about as hip as any member of The Tea Party.  Should anything less be expected of writer/director Nancy Meyers?  The movie borders on offensive the way it treats feminism – shocking considering this was a work by a female director, a relative rarity in Hollywood.  There was little exaggeration regarding the comment about Hathaway’s character’s sobbing; it seems as though her Jules is liable to burst into tears simply by knocking over the salt shaker at the dinner table.   Are we really to believe this is the same woman who discovered a company that has become an overnight internet sensation?

All of that having been said, the audience at this screening – and yes, they were a mix of senior citizens and young women – genuinely seemed to enjoy “The Intern”, based on the applause at the end; this may be a reasonable predictor for the movie’s success.  Once the screening finished, a very polite young man approached and introduced himself as someone from Warner Brothers, requesting feedback about “The Intern”; the young man seemed disappointed when the offer was declined, but he’s probably better off – he likely wasn’t equipped to handle the vehement onslaught from A Certain Viewer. 

The Intern (2015) on IMDb

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