By Jon Gallagher
The Intern (WB, 2015) – Written and Directed by Nancy Meyers. Stars: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, JoJo Kushner, Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Jason Orley, Christina Scherer, Nat Wolff, Linda Lavin, Celia Weston, Steve Vinovich, & C.J. Wilson. Color, Rated PG-13, 121 minutes.
So what do you do when you’re 70 years old, just lost your wife of 42 years, and are bored out of your skull with everyday activities? If you’re Ben Whittaker (De Niro), you find an upstart internet company founded by 30-something Jules Ostin (Hathaway) and staffed by a bunch of 20-to-30-year-olds who are long on technology, but short when it comes to common sense, and you become a “senior intern.”
Jules’ company, a web-based clothing retailer, is an overnight success story, reaching their five-year goals in a record-setting nine-month period. She runs the company her way, working long hard hours, keeping her hand in every facet of the business while her husband (Holm) stays at home to raise their daughter Paige (Kushner). Ben is hired as an intern, much to Jules’ chagrin, and manages to chip away at her shell to become a trusted confidant, and, by the end of the movie, her best friend.
The film has some very funny moments. In one instance, Jules sends an email to her mother by mistake. The email complains about how controlling her mother is and has the potential of destroying their relationship. Jules goes to her staff to ask their help in getting the email back before her mother gets home from work and checks her personal email.
It’s Ben who comes up with the perfect solution in our digital world: Break into her mother’s house and steal the computer. Ben and three others from the company set out to do just that. It’s a hilarious scene that makes good use of Murphy’s Law and still leaves me with a smile on my face just thinking about it as I type this review.
Jules’ investors aren’t sure she’s the one to run the company and suggest she find a CEO who would then become her boss. She’s resistant, but still explores the possibilities including taking a trip across the country (with Ben) to San Francisco to interview one of the top candidates.
Midway through the movie, I was set to complain about how predictable the movie was, but to my surprise, it wasn’t predictable at all. That was quite a shock, actually, but in a good way.
De Niro shows off his talent with this role, playing the wise old man who still knows a trick or two. Hathaway does a wonderful job as well, and the two play well off each other, creating an onscreen chemistry that we don’t see enough of nowadays.
Rene Russo plays Fiona, a masseuse who works for the company (of course, a modern start-up company needs to employ a masseuse) who develops a relationship with Ben. Zach Pearlman and Andrew Rannells also turn in good performances as another intern and a company manager, respectively.
My only real complaint about the movie is that it seems to end in the middle. There are some decisions that are made at the end, and although we’re pretty sure we know what they are, the characters never quite come out and say what those decisions are for sure. In fact, I was taken aback when the credits started to roll; I thought there had to be at least another 10 minutes of movie remaining.
I enjoyed the movie. I thought the clash of cultures between the generations was well worth exploring and would like to have seen more.
I’ll give the effort a solid B, with the only thing holding it back from a better grade being the ambiguity of the ending.