Writer and director Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give) has become a well-known name in Hollywood, mostly due to her ability to somehow make all every film a feel-good experience. She replicates this exact same feeling for The Intern, a film that doesn’t always go in the direction you hope it will (there isn’t any social commentary about aging in the workplace), but that is to be expected with Meyers. What we do get is a lot of heart, good characters, and moments that will be sure to make you feel all gooey inside without all the extra cheese.
Ben Whitaker (Robert De Niro) is retired, widowed, and after he’s traveled to the places he’s always wanted to go, he’s left with not much else to look forward to. Wanting to feel like he’s still a part of something, Ben takes up a “senior internship” with a local company that sells clothes online. Behind this new, emerging, and very hip, open-spaced workplace is Jules (Anne Hathaway). An over-worked perfectionist, she doesn’t know about this internship until Ben is assigned to work directly with her. Initially rejecting the help, Jules becomes dependent on the always patient and calm Ben (who somehow becomes like a father-figure to everyone at the company) and beyond their working relationship, they develop a close friendship as well.
It’s very hard not to like The Intern, the title resembling that of 2013’s The Internship but clearly have nothing in common. The film isn’t filled to the brim with comedic moments, but the lighthearted tone and characters prove to be extremely likable. Anne Hathaway graduates from being a personal assistant in The Devil Wears Prada to running her own company in what is at first a very Meryl Streep-esque way that thankfully lasts two minutes before you see past her uptight demeanor and into her humanity. She and Robert De Niro have a very easy chemistry and if there were a category for the character you wish actually existed in your real life, De Niro’s Ben would most certainly be given the award.
The supporting cast, which includes Rene Russo, Anders Holm, and Adam DeVine, add life and zest to the film. However, one of the main issues I have with the film is that the marital unhappiness is wrapped up far too neatly and comes away as being too predictable and easy in a film that boasts a strong female character. And since the film was more about Hathaway’s growing friendship with De Niro and not her marriage, the finale could have stayed open-ended. Regardless of its imperfections, The Intern is very enjoyable and is good at loosening the heartstrings a little. It’s not a romance between De Niro and Hathaway (thankfully), but serves its purpose well in being a feel-good, character-driven film.
Release Date: September 25, 2015 | Director and screenwriter: Nancy Meyers | Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Christina Scherer, Nat Wolff | Genre: Comedy | MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language