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The Intern Movie Review

The Intern: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art
The Intern is now available on home video. Read our review of the Blu-ray + DVD combo.

The Intern (2015) movie poster The Intern

Theatrical Release: September 25, 2015 / Running Time: 121 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Writer/Director: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Robert De Niro (Ben Whittaker), Anne Hathaway (Jules Ostin), Rene Russo (Fiona), Anders Holm (Matt Ostin), Jojo Kushner (Paige), Andrew Rannells (Cameron), Adam Devine (Jason), Zack Pearlman (Davis), Jason Orley (Lewis), Christina Scherer (Becky), Nat Wolff (Justin), Linda Lavin (Patty), Celia Weston (Doris), Steve Vinovich (Miles), CJ Wilson (Mike), Mary Kay Place (voice of Jules's Mom)

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It took a while but Robert De Niro is finally embracing old age. No longer the cop or crook every few months, De Niro is now comfortable playing the old man in comedies like Last Vegas, Grudge Match, and next year's self-explanatory Dirty Grandpa.
Few actors in their seventies have ever gotten the choice opportunities De Niro still does, like three consecutive opportunities to work with David O. Russell, including the upcoming Joy. But De Niro refuses to slow down much or be super selective. He savors another leading and titular role in The Intern, a comedy written and directed by geriatric-friendly, 65-year-old Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want) that casts the much younger Anne Hathaway as his boss.

De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower looking for a little purpose and structure in his life. In between his daily early morning Starbucks runs and his full slate of funerals to attend, Ben has his eye caught by a flyer for a senior citizen internship. After figuring out how to upload his video application and winning over his every interviewer, Ben begins working at About the Fit, a trendy new online clothing business. He is appointed the personal intern of Jules Ostin (Hathaway), the company's overworked founder and CEO who rides a bike around the offices in the name of efficiency.

In Nancy Meyers' "The Intern", a 70-year-old widower (Robert De Niro) becomes the personal intern of a clothing business' swamped CEO (Anne Hathaway).

Jules isn't crazy about having an old intern or about having it be the attentive and old-fashioned Ben. But she comes to be won over by his generous spirit and his chivalrous streak, as he assumes the position of her chauffeur, knows the quickest routes, and values in-person communication and acknowledging others.

Both the movie and its workplace evolve from seeing Ben as a hopeless old guy who doesn't know how to wake up a computer to a wise old soul who knows how to dress nice, work hard, and be there for others, be it the young intern needing a place to crash (Zack Pearlman) or Jules, who is reluctantly considering hiring a new CEO to relieve her perpetually swamped status. A decreased workload would also enable Jules to iron out some wrinkles in her marriage to Matt (Anders Holm), a stay-at-home dad she knows is cheating on her.

Of course, you'll know how Rene Russo playing company masseuse Fiona will figure. In Hollywood math, the 61-year-old actress is the perfect age to be a septuagenarian's love interest, which she does in one of the subplots that doesn't particularly go anywhere.

Robert De Niro shows off his sweet side as senior intern Ben Whittaker. Anne Hathaway tries to juggle work and family as busy business owner Jules Ostin.

De Niro has taken his lumps in recent years for collecting paychecks on projects far below the high standards he maintained for close to thirty years. But he remains a compelling performer in the right part.
Surprisingly, Ben Whittaker is the rightest part he's gotten from anyone other than Russell since CIA agent turned suspicious potential father-in-law Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents. The Intern itself may be downright routine, but De Niro is as sweet and lovable as perhaps he has ever been.

We've seen him play the madman, the ticking timebomb, the warm-hearted but cold-blooded gangster. Here he is just a teddy bear in need of a hug, a relic of an earlier generation whose wisdom has value to the sloppy, scatterbrained twenty- and thirtysomethings with whom he's working. While this film obviously won't join the ranks of the actor's greatest films, e.g. Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, and so on, it does show us a different side of De Niro and gives us more to admire than any recent performance of his but Silver Linings Playbook and Everybody's Fine. And though many have wondered why he says "yes" to so many new movies that fail to ignite, The Intern, believe it or not, gives us some hope that De Niro is capable of more than just rehashing old tricks and playing the old man.

Hathaway, on the other hand, does not show us anything new. She has maintained leading lady status longer than anyone could have guessed after The Princess Diaries and has commanded respect in certain prestige projects, from her brief Oscar-winning hysterics in Les Misιrables to her focal, semi-tolerable turns in two Christopher Nolan instant classics. While nothing she's done suggests she will ever be a great actress, she's at least used her clout passably enough of late, sparing us of too many atrocities like Bride Wars, Valentine's Day, and Love & Other Drugs.

Meyers may not have any huge surprises up her sleeves here. Laughs are few and far between, as the movie shifts from comedy to drama and hardly looks back. The funniest scene sees Ben and co-workers trying to be like the Ocean's Eleven gang on a break-in and e-mail deletion. The closing scene is downright perplexing. But at least The Intern never becomes the endurance challenge you might expect it to be, given the presence of two of three insufferable "Workaholics" bros and a script that tackily tries to paint the modern man-child as a pale successor of yesteryear's gent (who in this world at least isn't sexist, racist, or intolerant of anything less than drunk driving).

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Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: A Walk in the Woods • Black Mass • Pawn Sacrifice • Sicario • Everest • The Martian
Written by Nancy Meyers: Father of the Bride & Father of the Bride Part II | Directed by Nancy Meyers: The Parent Trap (1998)
Robert De Niro: Grudge Match • Last Vegas • Silver Linings Playbook Red Lights • Killing Season •Everybody's Fine
Anne Hathaway: Get Smart • Interstellar • The Princess Diaries & The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement • The Dark Knight Rises
Julie & Julia • How Do You Know • Sweet Home Alabama • St. Vincent • Workaholics: Season 1

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Reviewed September 25, 2015.

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