Granger on Movies: ‘The Intern’
Looking for a date movie or a feel-good flick your mom would enjoy? You can always rely on mainstream comedy from writer/director Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “What Women Want,” “The Holiday”).
Seventy-year-old Brooklyn widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is at loose ends after his retirement. While he begins every morning with coffee at Starbucks and tai chi class, his days and nights are lonely.
“I just know there’s a hole in my life, and I need to fill it,” he says.
Then he spies an ad for “senior interns” at About the Fit, a thriving e-commerce clothing start-up that’s located in a nearby converted factory.
Acing the interview, he’s assigned to 30-ish entrepreneur Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Stylish and a stickler for detail, frantic Jules is overworked and overwhelmed by the conflicting demands of her job and her family.
Jules’ husband Matt (Anders Holm) is a stay-at-home dad, caring for their precocious young daughter, Paige (JoJo Kushner), but he’s obviously becoming restless. At the same time, Jules’ investors are strongly suggesting that she hire an experienced CEO to run the company.
While briefcase-toting Ben amiably adjusts to the new technology and an entirely different workplace environment, his younger, Millennial cohorts (Adam DeVine, Christina Scherer, Zack Perlman, Jason Orley and Nat Wolff) discover what they can learn from his respectful, avuncular wisdom and patient dedication.
Specializing in trendy, intelligent, female-centric comedies, Nancy Meyers’ light touch is empathetic and insightful. Her three-dimensional characters are faced with real-life choices, and her casting is spot-on: unobtrusively observant De Niro understands Hathaway’s inner struggle. Their engaging chemistry and generation-spanning camaraderie is apparent.
On a nuanced romantic level, DeNiro responds to Rene Russo, the company’s massage therapist, whom he takes on a unique “first date.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Intern” is a sweetly accessible, sparky 7, a charming crowd-pleaser.