There are three types of films that make it to the box office: the mediocre, the critically acclaimed, and the feel-good. “The Intern” may not be critically acclaimed- but that’s okay.
With Nancy Meyer’s direction and writing, “The Intern” neither sinks nor swims. It’s one of those films that manages to float- albeit, lifelessly- as not every director can be an overachiever, and not every film can be Oscar-worthy. One can’t always watch films like “Les Miserables” or “Jackass.” The occasional middle ground movie can be nice; cue “The Intern.”
“The Intern” certainly hit the jackpot with their cast of a couple hollywood greats, as Robert De Niro portrays the charming widower Ben Whittaker, a man bored with retirement and in desperate search of something to fill his days with. Anne Hathaway plays Jules Ostin, the founder of an online clothing company that just happens to have an internship program specifically for senior citizens.
While watching this film, it’s extremely difficult not to compare it to “The Devil Wears Prada.” It would have been interesting to have seen Hathaway come in to Meryl Streep’s shoes, and play a more frightening character such as Miranda Priestly, yet Meyers failed to fully develop Jules’ supposed tough exterior. Anyone who rides a cruiser bicycle around the office can’t be too frightening.
The script tries excessively to fixate on the fact that Jules is supposedly a tough boss, but she never truly exemplifies that demeanor. Rather, she seems to be an intelligent, inexperienced yet determined woman who isn’t easily shaken. The fact that these traits are supposed to make Jules a crazy neurotic woman highlights this very real issue in the workplace, which is interesting to see on the big screen.
Robert De Niro, who is famous for playing “intimidating until you get to know him” characters, dips his toes into a completely new character with Ben Whittaker. De Niro depicts a genuine, classy, hard-working older gentleman that is extremely likeable. As with nearly every film that introduces an older individual to the younger world, a scene in which Jules shows Ben how to use Facebook comes off as a ‘freebie’ scene that was adapted out of pure laziness.
Anders Holm (“Workaholics”) plays Jules’ husband Matt, a stay-at-home father who seemingly has a bit of bitterness about his wife’s career success. His new scruffy appearance does not do his character any favors, (He’s supposed to be married to a C.E.O, for goodness sake) and he comes off as extremely unlikeable, not only because of his character, but because of his monotonal portrayal of the character. This is a great shame considering his reputation as both a competent comedic actor and writer.
Adam DeVine plays- well, Adam DeVine. His character spectrum is fairly restricted, and his acting in this film is no exception. His character, Jason, is head intern at the office, and evokes the question, “How did he get a job in an office in the first place?” DeVine all too often plays naive yet cocky characters, as we have seen in “Pitch Perfect” as well as the T.V. series “Workaholics.” If he continues this predictable streak, his personality will be more relevant to Hollywood than his ability to actually act.
Where this movie does shine is in the chemistry between Hathaway and De Niro. It’s refreshing to watch a movie that is not explicitly about two people falling in love, but rather, two people falling in like. Ben needs companionship and excitement ever since his wife passed away, and Jules needs some peace and someone to talk to about her personal life crumbling as a result of her career. That’s where the magic happens, and the father-daughter relationship that develops on screen is sweet to watch unfold.
Although the film does not build up to a huge climax, the audience is left with a few silly scenes that will leave any viewer giggling, such as a scene in which Ben recruits a few of the younger more frantic interns to break into Jule’s mother’s house in order to delete an email.
There are a few too many obvious quips about ‘elderly relations,’ but even those earned a roar of laughter from an audience almost exclusively consisting of senior citizens. Audience
involvement in the theater was almost half the fun during the film.
Although this movie will never be a recipient of any major award, “The Intern” is the type of movie that millions with still flock to see. It may lack depth, but it has an abundance of relatability, and sometimes that’s all a movie-goer is looking for.