The 400-Word Review: Intern
By Sean Collier
September 28, 2015
The Intern aims to be review-proof simply by being really, really pleasant. Every character in the film is so nice and every moment so drenched in sunlight and sentiment that the cynical viewer is at a loss to object. What, you didn’t like the movie? Do you hate kindness and love, you monster?
And yet: By many measures, it’s not a very good movie. The third film in writer/director Nancy Meyers’ unofficial “old people are cool” trilogy — after Something’s Gotta Give (okay) and It’s Complicated (terrible) — completely eschews believability or complexity in its characters. Meyers is perfectly content to have her creations serve as little more than paragons of modern virtue: the wise, tender older gentleman; the hard-working yet impossibly cool thirtysomething woman; the infinitely-patient woman of a certain age, looking for love.
Ben (Robert De Niro), a snappy-dressing retired widower, applies for a senior citizen internship program at an online shopping startup founded by superwoman Jules (Anne Hathaway).
I attempted to write a second sentence in that plot description, but there’s really very little to add; Jules gradually begins to trust Ben and accept his wisdom and experience on a variety of factors. The subject matter, I suppose, is whether or not she’ll allow a CEO to take over her company, but the drama there is slight, and Ben eventually falls for office masseuse Fiona (Rene Russo), but that subplot is remarkably underplayed.
Inasmuch as The Intern is a comedy, it’s a very broad one. If you have a relative who hasn’t watched a big-screen laugher since, say, the Nixon administration, they’ll probably unleash some belly laughs, but anyone who seeks out humor on a regular basis will be more inclined to eye-rolling. And while Meyers’ credentials as a director are well-established, she does little here: Find natural light, point the camera, linger on Hathaway, repeat.
There’s a game supporting cast of frazzled millennials, with Adam Devine, Christina Scherer and Andrew Rannells all showing off in moments. And of course, De Niro and Hathaway are perfectly capable of carrying even a soporific script to watchability; when they start to truly open up, the film reaches its high-water mark.
Few films will manage to be this forgettable, though, and that script truly is a dud. The Intern will mollify most and entertain those that don’t see many films, but there’s certainly no reason to seek it out.
My Rating: 5/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark