The Intern (2015)

Directed by Nancy Meyers

Contains spoilers.

Pretty occasionally there are movies whose cast gets you excited. Then you actually see the movie and it's not all you hoped it would be. The Intern is that.

Robert De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old, retired widower who's tired of the monotony of retirement. After traveling, learning Chinese, and trying all sorts of hobbies, Ben still feels like something's missing. So, when he sees a flier for an internship specifically for senior citizens, he applies. The company he's applying to, an internet-based, retail startup called About the Fit, loves him; he's made the personal intern of the head of the company, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Jules doesn't necessarily want a personal intern, but Ben shows how capable he is, helping Jules and, just about, everyone in the office. He takes a personal interest in everyone's problems, gives advice, and develops a crush on a coworker.

Everything about The Intern is a little too perfect, except for the story. The characters are cliché and charismatic, and their problems are cliché as well. Ben is the hero of the office, able to fix every problem or advise every situation. Jules Ostin is an average business owner who tries desperately to be different, kind of like her business. About the Fit is a take on new business models, like Google and Facebook, trying to portray a fun and casual style of internet business that doesn't conform to the normal business expectations, where everyone in the office is young and and friendly and the boss, Jules, is so different and smart that she rides a bicycle around the office because she doesn't want to waste time by walking.

What could've been an interesting movie with poignant takes on old and new turns into a dreary exercise of mediocre writing and predictable problem solving. The Intern plays out like a sitcom. It almost feels like watching the first 6 episodes of a primetime show but without the laugh track because they thought the audience would actually find it funny. And the truth is that there are a few moments peppered throughout the movie that are funny, but they're few and some cringe-worthy.

 

The sad thing about this movie is that it could have had a great stance on a lot of things. There's a great scene when Ben gets to the office and sits at a desk with the other interns (they all have MacBooks on the unassigned desks and Ben's is miraculously already signed onto his email) and they proceed to get situated. Davis, a younger intern, gets out a portable hard drive, headphones, and other "tech devices"; Ben, on the other hand, opens his 1972 Executive attaché filled with old world office supplies: pens, paper, calculator. And then Meyers take this interesting scene and smother it do death with elderly characters who don't know a damn thing about anything technological. An elderly woman says, "I don't even know what language that was," when Ben lists types of video files; one of Ben's coworkers in the senior internship very nearly gets in a car accident and then almost hits a parked car. So while the movie itself is very out of touch, almost like Nancy Meyers has never made a website or run a business, it had a nice aspect of new vs. old until Meyers pulverizes it with it's tired attempts to be emotionally moving.

In the same way that the story turns more and more into delirium, Ben becomes this out of touch gentleman from another era. He wears a suit and tie almost always, except when he goes on vacation and trades the tie for a sweater. He's so good at his job and helping his friends/coworkers that, in a move that no one saw coming, they start to emulate him. One intern gets a briefcase and starts to wear button ups; Davis starts to wear a suit after an inspirational lesson from Ben; Jason, played by Adam DeVine, mans up and learns how to treat a woman. Ben even becomes a father figure to Jules or, in her words, "intern slash best friend." The story of Ben, a retiree who feels a need to keep working and moving in life, devolves into an emotional drama about Jules and her company and her marriage, ending with Jules completely ignoring Ben's advice. When Jules learns that her husband, Matt, is cheating on her, the story suddenly revolves around her need to save her marriage by working less.

It's absolutely infuriating. What showed promise as a comedy becomes an annoying attempt at emotion. There are indeed humorous moments, but with the lack of character development and story arcs and the awful ending, there just isn't a lot to love here. To see the movie once is worth it just for Robert De Niro's acting out sex jokes. But everything else about this movie is plainly forgettable.

 
 

TL;DR: Robert De Niro makes some sex jokes. Anne Hathaway forgives her husband for cheating on her for almost a month. One small step for men, one giant leap back for women. The Intern could've been a great comedy, but it turns into a mediocre drama about marriage and women in positions of power instead. Count me out.

  • Acting – 14 / 20
  • Story – 6 / 20
  • Cinematography – 9 / 20
  • Soundtrack – 3 / 10
  • Entertainment Factor – 6 / 10
  • Comedy – 6 / 10
  • Other – 0 / 10
 

Grade F = 44 / 100