- Movie Rating -

The Intern (2015)

| September 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Intern is like a stack of pancakes. It’s warm, sweet and leaves you with a touch of a belly ache. You are, no doubt, drawn in by the casting and who could resist a movie that brings together Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway? They’re the best actors of their respective generations, but – WOW! – you keep wishing that they could find each other in a better movie. The Intern isn’t bad exactly; it’s light, breezy but is of no real significance.

De Niro, who seems to have retired from the hard-boiled, challenging roles that made him famous, plays a good-hearted retired widower named Ben Whittaker. Retired from a now defunct company that made phone books, he now spends his days trying to figure out how to spend his days. His wife of 42 years is dead and he needs a challenge. So, he answers an ad for an outreach program for senior interns (senior as in age) to help out at ‘About to Fit’, a successful internet company that specializes in women’s clothing.

Ben gets the unenviable task of being the intern to the company’s CEO, a supposedly tough-as-nails career woman named Jules Ostin (Hathaway). She claims she doesn’t need him, but Romantic Comedy Law demands that she discover how much she really does need him, not just in the office but in her personal life as well. He becomes her driver (Driving Miss Hathaway?) and eventually he becomes her confidant. The two build a nice friendship that, it’s a relief to report, doesn’t bloom into a May-December.

The problem is, that’s about it. The movie is as bland and superfluous as it gets. Director Nancy Meyer sets up the inner-office environment with the reverie of shop-worn sitcom. It’s pleasant and nice but it’s only established so that Ben’s old-school experience can teach the young a thing or two, but none of it has any significant payoff. The people around the office are young whipper-snappers whose function in the film is to be young whipper-snappers and they don’t matter either.  They aren’t developed as characters, they’re just onlookers to Ben’s successes. Ben develops a half-written and pointless semi-sorta-romance with the company’s on-site masseuse (Rene Russo) which goes nowhere and ALSO doesn’t seem to matter.

The plot developments are pointless too. Are we surprised to find that Jules’ home life is burdened by the fact that her husband Matt gave up his career plans to be a stay-at-home dad? Nearly all of Jules and Matt’s scenes are dedicated to talking about the fact that they never see each other. Hmmm.

For about the first hour of The Intern I was fairly bored. I liked Jules and Ben but I wanted the movie to clear out the junky plot points and just let them talk, let them be human beings who connected with each other. To that point, the movie had no real dramatic tensions . . . then it happens. A dramatic situation develops that actually seems to give the movie some dramatic weight. Not to give anything away, but Ben discovers something about Matt that troubles him. When he brings it to Jules, the two have a heartfelt conversation that seems to be drawn from the characters, not from the screenplay. Unfortunately, the results of that dramatic event are crushed by a resolution that nobody – but nobody – is going be happy with.

The Intern was written and directed by Nancy Meyers who specializes in cupcake-sweet confections like It’s Complicated and Something’s Got to Give and the Father of the Bride movies. Her films seem to have a consistent pattern. They contain a germ of human interest wrapped up in a gimmicky script that is fit for a bad television sitcom. The exception is a great comedy she made 30 years ago called Irreconcilable Differences, about a kid who divorces her squabbling parents. That movie had truth and human interest. The Intern has only faint echos of humanity. It has moments here and there when it shows the promise of what it might have been. It’s a nice, sweet, uncomplicated movie that will begin disappearing from your mind before you get out of the theater and will have left you completely by the time you get to the car.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2015) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy