Movie Review: The Intern


A 70-year-old widower works as an intern for the young CEO of a fashion start-up and teachers her some life lessons or whatever.


Nancy Meyers, 2015

Finding himself at a loss for what to do with his retirement, lifetime company man Ben (Robert DeNiro) decides to join a program for senior interns at a local internet fashion store start-up. Jules (Anne Hathaway), the workaholic CEO of the company, is so determined to make sure everything is perfect that she is constantly late for every meeting and micromanages her staff while forgetting their names. Her…friend? Personal assistant? Secretary? Cameron (Andrew Rannels) becomes frustrated and assigns Ben to her as her intern. At first frosty towards Ben, Jules is eventually won over by the widower. Despite her reservations and her attempts to keep Ben at arms’ length, the two become friends. When Ben uncovers a secret about Jules’ home life, he worries about endangering her business, her marriage, and their new friendship.


Except, you know, there are absolutely no stakes whatsoever. The Intern is a movie completely lacking in any actual conflict or stakes. Functionally, a movie like this should play like a romantic comedy: the man and woman meet, don’t initially like each other, come to appreciate each other, something happens to cause them to fight, then they make up. That’s the structure. In this movie, they kind of don’t get along, then they do…and that’s it. It seems to want to be about the generation gap, but Ben is such a wholesome, friendly snowflake who never does anything wrong that there’s still absolutely nothing to examine there. Jules, on the other hand, is neurotic and borderline unlikable for a chunk of the movie. Nancy Meyers seems not only to have never spoken to anyone under the age of 50, but also to not like young people at all. Anne Hathaway does her best with the material, and Robert DeNiro does make Ben almost absurdly likeable; when the two of them are working well together, for a moment you can forget how bad the rest of the movie is. Then Jules is crying because Ben offered for her to be buried in his family plot (this is actually a conversation they have in this movie) and you remember how absurd the film really is.

Everything about The Intern feels like it’s at least twenty years too late. The soundtrack is made to transition to TV ad breaks. The depiction of millenials is offensive on so many levels, even if Ben’s burgeoning friendship with them is the sweetest thing in this movie, especially when he essentially adopts the adult Davis. (Also, Zack Pearlman has the most lusciously curled hair I’ve ever seen in my life. I was so distracted by his beautiful hair. This is probably not the take-away the movie wanted from me.) This is a movie where people over 60 have never heard of YouTube, and everyone is constantly referring to the internet start-up as “e-commerce”. It’s also a movie where Jules goes on a rant about how men these days aren’t “real men”; the movie constantly embraces horribly outdated gender politics. Jules’s relationship with her husband is threatened by her job, and she’s mocked at school for being a working mother. It’s all such outdated, twee nonsense that absolutely did not deserve to be made in 2015.

The Intern on IMDb


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