The Pros and Cons of Becoming an Intern at 70

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

“The Intern” movie review: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway coast.

“The Intern” is a Nancy Meyers odd couple / buddy movie about a “senior” intern, played by Robert De Niro, working for Anne Hathaway’s whirlwind of an internet startup boss. NEW YORK — In “The Intern” Anne Hathaway is a go-getting e-commerce winner, a mother, wife and boss who discovers the value of having an older, more experienced person to vent to, share with and question. Ben learns about a senior intern program and is placed at a start up fashion website run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), a thirty something year old mother who works 30 hours a day and is constantly juggling phones and meetings when she’s not riding her bike through the office. It marginalizes what she does and how she has, from “The Parent Trap” to “It’s Complicated,” created her own lovely andimplausible cottage industry of movies that are, for the most part, exceedingly pleasant to watch.

That person is her 70-year-old intern Ben (Robert De Niro) and their often comic collision and ultimate understanding is a large part of what makes “The Intern” hum. Firstpost is convinced that the director duo can travel back in time since they’ve effortlessly managed to make this film which is straight out of the ghastly 90s era of Bollywood when logic failed and women served as props for the man who was always the hero. Hathaway, 32, found playing a woman as complex as Jules pretty educational. “What’s great is how Nancy (Meyers, the writer/director) made observations about how old school meets the new world, and each is made better because of the other. “Jules is a private person. The trending styles are more apparent in what computers get used in the office than what people wear (it’s casual day all day at this office) and this online fashion store is more about what people are looking for than telling them what they should wear. Instead of a young, fresh out of varsity protagonist just starting out in the world, this intern is a 70-something widower with a wealth of life experience.

She’s so dedicated to her company, she dreads the idea that anything in her personal life could impact her ability to do her job and keep the company going. “So she doesn’t really have anyone to confide in — and then she meets Ben and their friendship develops, and she winds up opening up to him and taking his advice because she really, really respects him. Despite her success—and eighteen-hour work days—the company is growing so quickly her investors want to bring in an experienced CEO to grow the business. Ben’s calming presence starts to help Jules deal with the pressure to hire a CEO, her unconventional family, and having faith in the company she started. Meyers is one of the more retro writer-directors working today. “The Intern,” her first film in six years, is a curious case, melding those modern retro sensibilities in a way that even further distances her work from reality.

Life is full of problems, but when these problems are projected in a cute New York autumn weather they make you look at them with a different perspective, and the cute people facing these problems become kind of likable. Ben has tried filling his time but concludes, “I just know there’s a hole in my life and I need to fill it.” He spots a flier for a “senior intern” at About the Fit, applies, and lands the gig. And it’s really excellent advice.” “Up till now I’ve made a lot of my movies from a place of insecurity and neuroses and self-doubt, and when we started,” Hathaway said at the Crosby Street Hotel, “Nancy and I saw the character in two different ways. “I had this moment where I was, ‘Oh, we see it different ways. After the death of his wife he has kept busy: does tai chi, took up Mandarin and occasionally visits his son and grandchildren, but there’s a “hole in his life that he needs to fill”.

He is assigned to the startup founder who initially tells him, “I’m not going to have a lot for you to do.” Ben bides his time, dispenses some advice to the 20-something interns and takes just enough initiative without overstepping his bounds. Am I going to feel so uncomfortable the entire time if I’m not following my instincts?’ “So, it became this wonderful exercise in being guided, which is very new for me. Hathaway and De Niro do all the dramatic heavy lifting, but the supporting cast of Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Jason Orley, and Christina Scherer add much needed comedy. Appointed personal intern to the boss lady, Jules Ostin (Hathaway), Ben quietly makes friends with everyone and basically turns into everyone’s favourite uncle.

With only the most polite issues peppering the plot, it’s less a study of generational conflict and more of a series of loosely connected events about a guardian angel sent out of retirement to tell Anne Hathaway that she really can have it all. She’s the typical successful workaholic, married to a really nice guy (Anders Holm) and turning her little startup into a massively successful, sprawling huge company in just a couple of years. It even asks if the whole mentality of “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” back when it was still daughter and not child, somehow gave boys the short shrift.

He’s friendly, he takes his younger co-workers under his wing teaching them the importance of a good briefcase, to tuck in their shirts, to always have a handkerchief at hand, not for themselves but for the ladies and he even meets a love interest, the in house masseuse Fiona (Rene Russo). In the past year and a half, she has built an insanely successful clothing business from the ground up and is now juggling a kid, her relationship with her stay-at-home husband, and a board of directors who want to replace her with a more seasoned CEO. The Quint calls the film ‘an unimaginative piece of humdrum’ that ends up as an unfortunate journey both for the five girls indistinguishable from one another and for those watching them.

Jules is reluctant at first to take Ben on but he soon proves to become a valuable asset and ally to her as she encounters both professional and personal strife. Or an infidelity subplot that rears its ugly head in the final third and does little except to raise the dramatic stakes, but it’s clumsy and feels tagged on.

Director Rikhil Bahadur’s tale of self-discovery Time Out, starring Chirag Malhotra and Pranay Pachauri may take time to come into its own but when it does, it is liberating and enlightening. What is a pleasant surprise is that the film’s dialogue is fresh and the funny lies not in slapstick humour, but in the interchanges between the people. Juxtaposing Millennials and Baby Boomers should mine a rich vein of comedy and there are a few gags sprinkled throughout “The Intern,” but it feels aimed at an older audience who might find sitcom gags like a young guy walking in on what he thinks is a sex act, but is actually completely innocent. Ben questioning the behaviour of his co-workers is less querulous old person and more genuine curiosity, while the hipsters start to lean on his experience, making him feel wanted.

De Niro and Hathaway develop a warm, unforced rapport and their relationship is believable, even as her not recognising his valuable business experience is not – but it is a necessary plot point that she stay defensive or there would be no tension in the story. Forbes calls it ‘a pretty terrific and genuinely feminist mainstream comedy’ that never gives in to cheap thrills or makes stereotypical sitcom constructs of its characters. Conveniently Ben has years of experience in work culture, running a company, maintaining a cute little marriage, and dealing with life’s various bouncers. Telling the story of a 70-year old widower who signs up for an internship at an online clothes store run by a female entrepreneur, the movie happens to be Hathaway’s vehicle though DeNiro is great too. Meyers, whose credits include “It’s Complicated,” “The Holiday” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” But it not only presents strong or interesting female characters, in Ms.

But as her character opens up to Ben she perfectly conveys the struggles women in business still face: her insecurities, dealing with her own success, her struggle to balance work and personal life. Fortunately there’s no hint of forced romance between the two, it’s been a while since the two leads of opposite sexes in a Hollywood movie were ‘just friends’. Ben Whittaker and Travis Bickle will never be mentioned on the same breath but his work here could be considered a companion piece to “Meet the Fockers.” The Intern carries a huge dollop of romance in terms of the presentation – not only the soft light of the cinematography, but in how even-keeled everyone is.

He is the grandpa from “Up” without the edge, here to tell millennial men to stop dressing like little boys, to carry handkerchiefs because ladies cry, to stay at work until the boss leaves, and to talk to, not text, romantic prospects. This is also decidedly the more glamorous, hipster side of New York, with gorgeous brownstone houses filled with light and magazine shoot worthy furniture. It could so easily have turned into a farce, but director Nancy Meyers has gone for an intelligent character study instead, concentrating on the unexpected friendship and how it makes the two people grow. Jules says she doesn’t really like old people, and at one point worries that Ben knows too much about her, but those all dissolve without much ceremony.

You might roll your eyes at what happens in the end, but Meyers packs things up with a neat little bowtie, again making things cutesy enough to smile and move on. It can be cloying at times, but the disconnected timelessness of it all is all the more reason for Meyers to keep doing her own thing as long as she can. Those looking for a funnier, more memorable father-daughter feel good dynamics are recommended to grab a DVD of the 90’s classic Father of the Bride, which still remains Meyers’ best work.

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