The Intern

Warner Bros

Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer for Shockya

Grade: C+

Director: Nancy Meyers

Written by: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, Adam DeVine, Andrew Rannells, Celia Weston

Release: September 25, 2015

After Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) got bored of using “extra miles” for travel, doing T’ai chi in the park every morning, and learning Mandarin, he found a new “project” and applied for a Senior Intern’s position at a start-up online clothing catalog company in Brooklyn. The seventy-year old Ben got the job and was assigned to work for Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) the founder. Slowly but surely he progressed from an assistant to Jules’ secretary to becoming Jules’ personal driver, travel companion and her daughter’s chauffer on occasions.

Plainly, The Intern is a crowd pleaser feel-good comedy, which targets older audiences in general and women in particular. Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway were not first choices for the leading roles but accepted after Tina Fey, Michael Caine and Reese Witherspoon opted out. It is hard to find fault with De Niro’s or Hathaway’s acting which is engaging, but the screenplay written by director Nancy Meyers suffers from banality and lack of comic sharpness in the funny parts. A police chase scene that involves Breaking and Entering is uncalled for. I found Rene Russo’s role as Fiona, the “House Masseuse”, to be silly, especially when she gives De Niro’s Ben a bonus massage on his lower back, which has the “sexual harassment” bells ringing loud and clear. The family dynamics in the Ostin household look forced. Anders Holm, as husband Matt is a stay-at-home-dad, a “house-husband” as Ben calls him, who creatively splits his time between very early morning child care, mid A.M. extra marital affair and P.M. “husband-in-kitchen” scenarios. JoJo Kushner plays cute daughter Paige, who cries and laughs “by the numbers”. The part of Administrative Assistant Becky Scott, played by Christina Scherer, is written for a secretary circa the 1960s with all the hysterics that come from an overworked and overqualified college graduate.

The Intern is paced in a speedy manner by director Meyers, and characters spew their lines in rapid fire, which diminishes the effectiveness of the screen play. Credit, however, is due to screenwriter Meyers for recognizing a major Digital Generation problem: the failure to communicate “one-on-one” without the use of E-mails, texts and twits.

The film was photographed beautifully, in Brooklyn, by Stephen Goldblat. The office and warehouse exteriors were done in Cheever Place, near Columbia Street, while the beautiful interiors, include brownstones in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, designed by Kristi Zea.

Rated PG-13. 121 minutes.  © Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Story: C+

Acting: B

Technical: B+

Overall: C+

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By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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