I have a soft spot for the well-appointed adult contemporary flicks of Nancy Meyers (who, interestingly enough, was once nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing Private Benjamin). In her latest, Robert De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower looking for a new challenge. He takes an internship at an e-commerce firm started by Anne Hathaway’s quirk-aholic Jules.
Though the young CEO is standoffish at first, eventually she gives in like the rest of her staff, played by an above-average cast of likeable faces like Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine (one-third of “Workaholics”), Zack Pearlman and Christina Scherer. Mostly, The Intern is like Ben, sneakily charming until it’s too late. Then the third act dips into rote territory like infidelity and work/family balance.
Unlike most chick flicks (see Little Black Book), The Intern, which is not a “chick flick,” allows that work does not necessarily subjugate family and vice versa. The message is nicely modern, even if the movie wades into murkier waters with its critiques of the modern man, who is no “Jack Nicholson or Harrison Ford,” according to Jules. De Niro’s Ben has airs of Being There’s Chance without his more savant qualities, as he becomes Jules’ BFF. One of Hollywood’s elder statesmen appears more awake than in recent dram-edic roles—he even gets a little Taxi Driver nod in—but we’re not talking anything career-redefining. The Intern is a gorgeous, high-end catalog of a movie with lots to look at and nothing you’ll wind up wearing again.
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