Capping a summer packed with none-too-subtle action packed reboots and super hero films, comes a refreshing, heartfelt comedy from Parent Trap director Nancy Meyers. The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hatheway, meshes generations with its writing, forcing not only its characters to experience lifestyles it has not become accustomed to, but also its actors and audience.
Front and center of The Intern is a very out-of-character Robert DeNiro. He's played the grandfather before in films like New Year's Eve, but we've never seen him as the slightly awkward, yet confident widower looking to find a purpose during his anything but fulfilling retirement years. It should come as no surprise that DeNiro offers a delightful and hilarious role, on the level of Meet The Parents, as Ben Whitaker. Whether its heavily blinking his eyes to impress his oddball boss or hiding his arousal when the office masseuse offers her unsolicited services, DeNiro shies away from no comedic moment. He also provides the extremely sweet and on-the-nose life lessons Meyers was aiming to give her audiences as Jules Ostin's (Anne Hathaway) intern-turned-life-coach in a well polished manner.
Hathaway's character, who is mostly the driving force of the movie, can't quite find the balance of work and the rest of life. Really, she has no focus for anything outside of her online start-up company which she treats as more of a baby than her own daughter. Jules is broken but held together by her creation and eventually glued in all the right places by Ben, while the two learn from one another and make tolerable "sexism in the workplace" remarks. It is their learning and adjusting to one another which sends the audience Meyers' message of valuing all people and their experience. Be it Ben's wisdom of keeping a handkerchief handy in case a woman needs it or Jules acclimating Ben to the use of modern technology - The Intern may not be eye-opening and awe-inspiring, but it aims to make some curious about sitting down with their grandparents or even a stranger just hear about the knowledge and experience in front of them which they never knew was there, which is exactly what Jules needs and does.
The relationship between Jules and Ben is fun to explore but by the time it is fully realized, we all start to feel as if we're Ben's age. The movie runs one minute over two hours and while focused on the Ben and Jules relationship (or lack there of because Jules chose to completely ignore Ben early on) for much of the film, it gets clouded with additional issues being thrown on Jules' already crowded plate late in the game. Some of the issues, like a warehouse shutdown, never even get mentioned again after they create a overwhelmingly hectic day for the die hard boss. Nevertheless, Meyers stays true to her message of cross-generation lessons to be learned and manages to keep enough focus on DeNiro and Hathaway to put together a fitting finale for The Intern.
The ones who are really going to breakout from The Intern, seeing as it will just be another notch on an otherwise more impressive belt for DeNiro and Hathaway, are Adam Devine and Zack Pearlman. It's no secret Devine makes the best and funniest facial expressions for any comedic situation, but the two looked giddy to be working with a legend such as DeNiro and took full advantage of it. Especially Pearlman, whose Davis character moves into DeNiro's house and scores some funny extra screen time.
While The Intern won't be quite as remembered as some of DeNiro and Hathaway's previous performances, it's not because it isn't a good movie but because the two already have stand-out efforts on the resumes and The Intern is simply a fun flick not needing or wanting to be anything more. Though not billed as a romantic comedy in most regards, The Intern feels a lot like The Proposal or 13 Going On 30. The Intern is fun and deserves to have its lessons shared.
Bottom Line: The Intern presents a heartfelt multi-generational story without harping too hard on its traditional, yet fun heartfelt tropes. 7.7/10