Director Nancy Meyers is known for making hackneyed, charismatic movies where the first hour involves the budding of an unlikely relationship and the second hour is one teary-eyed revelation after another. I don’t know if I’m the first to say this, but two hours of formulaic, saccharine storytelling is exhausting and it wasn’t just because I had to pee that made me so impatient for The Intern to end. De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a bored, retired 70-year old who wants to get excited for life again and signs up to work as the intern for Jules Ostin (Hathaway), Brooklyn’s latest female CEO with more on her plate than she can comprehend. She’s at first disgusted with the idea of having another parent-like figure follow her around and tell her what to do, but the two find admiration and comfort in each other for their respective life accomplishments. Meyers does better here than her previous films like Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated by letting her characters fully develop and it feels sensical that the two would find solace in each other. De Niro is fantastic as always; the movie even begins with a monologue by him as he immediately settles into his character.
Absolutely nothing happens in the story of this movie, but I guess that’s expected too. The issues and insecurities that arise from the beginning and throughout are resolved with tears and acceptance. The premise was somewhat sexist but interesting and modern, and it’s a shame that it got shrunken down to nothingness. The music choice is also contemporary, with songs like Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” or Kendrick Lamar’s “i” playing in the background of De Niro’s swagger and it aids the humor of the movie. The script has some good jokes but most of them fall flat as the film drudges on. A feel-good comedy movie like this could have been done in the usual ~90 minutes, but Meyers has her way with this one.
The poster for The Intern reads “Experience Never Gets Old,” a statement that holds true for veteran actor De Niro and famed Hathaway. However, their Hollywood careers do stray into “old” with The Intern’s trite storytelling and predicted feeble audience. Hopefully Hathaway can still manage to age gracefully like Meryl Streep or Julianne Moore… or maybe she’ll need to intern under De Niro to find out how.