By Linley McCord
If you’re expecting a fun, airy movie about a sweet old man learning how to function in a millennial’s world, this is not the film for you. It’s marketed with a distinct date night or girl’s night out feel, but don’t be deceived—“The Intern” is more of a mid-life crisis movie featuring a grandfatherly mentor.
Robert De Niro portrays seventy-year-old Ben Whittaker, widower and retiree. He takes a chance on an internship that inexplicably has a “senior internship program” in which you can only apply if you’re over the age of 65. He is assigned to aid overly ambitious Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) as she runs her startup online shopping company.
The conflicts of the movie seem compelling in the moment but not fleshed out well posing more questions than answers. Both Jules’ work and family life are on the rocks—nothing earth-shattering there.
The front end of the movie—probably the first 45 minutes—are pretty good. De Niro plays the old-fashioned father figure well. He’s instantly a hit around the office and the younger guys on the team gravitate to him, which creates some heart-warming scenes. His interactions with Jules seem pretty believable and admirable as he quickly becomes her right-hand man.
But about halfway through, the mood changes pretty swiftly, from mild comedy to, frankly, a little boring. It becomes a bemoaning of the male-run business world and how women are severely disadvantaged. While a good and relevant message, it felt like it was being shoved down your throat. Hathaway becomes whiney and depressing as she faces opposition, and she constantly leans on her elderly intern for support.
In the end, nothing is really resolved, like the writers ran out of ideas and just wrote something on the fly—leaving much to be desired. The script was decent, the character development was a little lacking, and the plot was average. The film as a whole could have been about 30 minutes shorter.
Rated PG13 for suggestive material and language.