Overview: A workaholic senior citizen (Robert De Niro) takes a job as an intern in an online shopping office under the company’s uneasy and troubled boss (Anne Hathaway). Warner Bros. Pictures; 2015; PG-13; 121 minutes.
Another One?: The first act of The Intern is pretty unimpressive. The film just veers a bit too closely toward the groan-worthy expectations set by its marketing, emphasizing the age gap between De Niro and the rest of New York’s citizens, but most of these comedic bits don’t land. Early on, the film occasionally struggles to settle on a tone but when the wheels stop wobbling, there is a lot of really good stuff in The Intern.
Goodfella: At this point in his career, De Niro is totally free to give any amount of effort he wants to for his performances. I’m not going to pretend that he gave a class A performance in this film, nor did he need to. He was serviceable in the role, and I actually found it quite endearing and adorable seeing De Niro take on a role that I can only describe as a workaholic teddy bear with a big heart. The real joy of his character was seeing what he brought to the table. His character is an old man working at an office full of young and hip people, and the film handles it in a real satisfying way. It’s played for laughs, of course, but at the heart of it, it’s a story about rekindling the spirit in something that has lost it. It’s funny to see De Niro work around these young people, but by the end, it becomes endearing to see him make new friends and help them with their lives. He even helps a co-worker with asking someone out by teaching him how to be a gentleman, and a film that promotes chivalry is one I can really get behind.
A Devil Wears Prada: The Intern also succeeds in its progressive attitude towards women in the office space. The film has a woman in the boss role and a stay-at-home dad, both addressed directly by the film. It’s never a bad thing to see screen examples of multiple multi-layered, hardworking women who have full understanding of what they want. Hathaway plays the high-strung boss for the first third of the movie, which is mostly just okay. It’s definitely when her character starts getting fleshed out — when she gets together with De Niro — when the movie starts functioning on a more palatable and enjoyable level, with De Niro and Hathaway’s chemistry shining and Hathaway herself turning in a wonderfully… well, Hathawayian performance. She is in full control of her character. And De Niro and Hathaway’s already-great chemistry is complemented by Writer/Director Nancy Meyers’ screenplay. The drama and storylines aren’t the most fresh or innovative, but they certainly avoid the predictable melodrama, and go the refreshing route of talking through emotions and possibilities in an intelligent and adult way. It’s what movies branded like this have been missing.
Overview: What it lacks in refined directing, The Intern more than makes up for in its adorable performances and heartwarming, intelligent screenplay.