Nancy Meyers’ unconventional buddy flick dramedy, The Intern, starring Oscar winning duo Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, is the most high-profile (and longest) Apple advert the money-printing tech giants never asked for.
You can’t keep an old dog down and that’s exactly the case for De Niro’s frustrated retiree Ben Whittaker. A 70-year-old widower not content with the quiet life, the born and bred New Yorker has a bus-pass-sized hole in his life that only an internship at an online fashion business, created by Hathaway’s awkward workaholic Jules Ostin, can fill.
From uncomfortable bystander, to impromptu driver and, eventually, confidante/BFF, Ben charms his way – through senior wisdom and handkerchief action – into the heart of his new boss as the pair form the most unlikely of friendships.
A loveable De Niro holds afloat a bloated spectacle, weighed down by an increasingly frustrating turn from Hathaway. The Les Misérables star’s portrayal of busy bee Jules – with her tiresome work effort and quirky mannerisms (blinking fascination, hand gel love and bicycle riding through the office) – is the cause of numerous bouts of eye-rolling, as it aims for sweet and sympathetic but lands hard on annoying.
The Something’s Got to Give helmer creates a patchwork of sporadically funny skits – and plenty of office-based filler – which move the film on at a steady, yet unspectacular, pace. Laptop stealing shenanigans and its leading man’s techno-phobe naivety bring some laughs and charm to the table, and only the Raging Bull performer can make an OAP erection gag less sleazy than it really truly is. Yet for a film which never fails to remind us of its woman-centric roots, The Intern feels extremely let down by its rather negative marriage-in-crisis finale that leaves a rather bitter taste in our warn out mouths.
De Niro’s enjoyable Grandpa act alone is enough to make The Intern an easy, if somewhat mundane, before-bed-if-I-can-be-arsed watch, yet beyond the Apple endorsements and intern antics, Meyers’ effort is a mixed bag of annoyances and occasional giggles.