From writer and director Nancy Meyers (‘Something’s Got to Give’ 03, ‘The Holiday’ 06, ‘It’s Complicated’ 09), ‘The Intern’ sees Ben Whittaker (Robert de Niro) becoming increasingly fed up and bored with retirement, leading him to apply for an internship within a new and quickly expanding business – office positions specifically aimed at those in or near retirement as part of a sort of public outreach program. The only problem is Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the boss of this company, hasn’t been informed and isn’t especially interested in it – but since one of the new recruits is de Niro she quickly warms to him and the pair start to become close friends as a result.
It’s a little wishy-washy – especially with the writing of Jules’s husband Matt (Anders Holm) who comes across more like a closet serial killer than a house husband, in fact he’s been neutered by screenplay design to a rather extreme degree and even Holm doesn’t know how to play it (look out for Hathaway greeting at the bad acting she’s confronted with). Some of the emotional scenes do still manage to hit the mark though, as the experienced Ben helps Jules through her uncertainties and marital problems, and even though it’s all a bit loose and moody the characters do espouse the sort of ineloquent dialogues that tend to accompany such moments in real life, and indeed when Jules remarks she’s part of the generation that taught women they could do anything and should always go for it and she reckons men got left behind along the way she raises a very salient point –it seems to me that more and more these days men are criticised simply for being men, or, perhaps, not being women. Sometimes I’m amazed the human race survives.
Funny in places and likeable throughout – de Niro is dependable and charming and Hathaway is as good at appearing stressed and vulnerable here as she was at portraying strength in ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ (she also fits in a reference or two to another of her films, ‘Rachel Getting Married’ 08). Look out for the moment that ought to reward anyone with a not-so-supportive parent ….