The Intern sees two of Hollywood’s biggest past and present talents work side by side in this light-hearted comedy drama. Legendary actor Robert De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a 70 year old widower who decides life’s too short for retirement and takes up the ‘Senior intern programme’ at fast-growing online fashion store ‘About the Fit’. He’s assigned to the site’s owner Jules Ostin (played by superstar actress Anne Hathaway) – a stressed out career woman who eats, sleeps and breathes her business.
Initially Ben is the obvious odd one out of the workplace as the suit and tie wearing elder sticks out like a sore thumb among the trendy young crowd. But soon the hipsters start to look up to Ben as his now unconventional old school ways start to charm them.
Jules is also wary of Ben at first as his overall good nature seems to weird her out. She eventually warms up to him and the two embark on a friendship.
As well as Ben’s unusual internship, Jules has to deal with the booming growth of her company as About The Fit’s runaway success means that it’s struggling cope with the increasing demand. This puts a strain on Jules’ family life as she barely has time for her house-husband Matt (Anders Holm) and cute young daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner).
Both De Niro and Hathaway put in good performances as the instant chemistry between them is mostly enjoyable to watch. De Niro, who rose to fame playing larger than life lunatics in classics such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, is on great form as sweet old man Ben.
Hathaway impresses too as the quirky workaholic Jules.
Thankfully The Intern avoids a clichéd sexual tension (which would have been kinda creepy) between the two as they more of a father/daughter dynamic rather than a romantic relationship.
The two leads and the rest of the cast all handle the comedic moments well, which there are quite a few. Particularly chuckle-inducing scenes include Ben’s rejection of an over eager one-time booty call, his not-what-it-looks-like leg massage from office masseuse Fiona (Rene Russo), their first date at possibly the strangest place ever and an Oceans’s Eleven-like raid on Jules’ mum’s house.
The dramatic moments are also well managed by the cast, particularly a hotel room heart to heart between Ben and Jules. While drama in The Intern is acted quite well, the majority of the time it’s all a bit too sappy and mushy. Director Nancy Meyers seems to want to yank at your heartstrings, instead of subtly pulling at them.
As mentioned earlier, De Niro and Hathaway are great onscreen together and Ben and Jules’ relationship is fuels the film but sometimes it’s a little bit too cute and cosy. Some friction between the two would have served the film well as it would have taken their bond down a more of an intriguing route. While their friendship is often touching, Ben and Jules seem to see eye to eye way too much and a heated debate here or there is needed.
The lack of any gripping drama meant that for some periods of The Intern I lost interest (who know, maybe I’m just heartless) as the abundance of mushiness completely washed over my head as I occasionally felt drowned in sentimentality. This meant that the film’s two hour running time felt way too long.
Still despite its boring bits and its corniness, there is somewhat of a good time to be had with The Intern. While its raises a few laughs, it’s also raises some of society’s overlooked issues such as the role of the elderly, sexual discrimination in the business world and the shifting family dynamic. The performances of De Niro and Hathaway make this often too-nice reverse of The Devil Wears Prada (which Hathaway also starred in) more watchable than it should be. The Intern scores a:
Check out the trailer here: