By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Holiday), The Intern initially struck me as a sappy, overly saccharine movie attempting to make women cry and some men cringe in their seats.  Well, at least that was my impression of the promos I had seen prior to viewing the film.  While the movie does seem to have women as its main target demographic, it does actually have more to offer audiences of all persuasions.  With a lot of heart and some genuinely hilarious humor, The Intern mostly works well, but does have some transparency problems and does fumble a little at handling those heart strings. Still, one could do much worse at the cinema and I feel this one is good enough for at least one matinee viewing.

Robert De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker a seventy-year old retired widower who feels something missing in his life.  Ben actually misses having somewhere to be and having something to do when he had a career.  Opportunity knocks when he finds out about a special intern program geared toward senior citizens.  Ben aces his interviews and gets an internship at the offices of an online clothing store headed by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).  At first Ben is taken aback at how things have changed so much during his career days, but then manages to adjust and excel, impressing his co-workers and the boss herself.  Finding herself at a difficult crossroads in her life and career, Jules eventually reaches out to the older and wiser Ben for help.

As I said above, the story does have its transparent moments, with the plot playing out somewhat predictably.  Still, the film does have plenty of surprises, particularly in the comedy department.  I have to say The Intern turns out to be much funnier and naughtier with its humor than I was expecting.  The material never really gets overly raunchy and carefully maintains its PG-13 rating.

In addition to the solid performances by De Niro and Hathaway who share a lovely chemistry together, the movie has an exceptional supporting cast who have use their respective talents well.  The film also stars Renee Russo (Fiona), Anders Holm (Matt), JoJo Kushner (Paige), Andrew Rannells (Cameron), Adam DeVine (Jason), and Zack Pearlman (Davis).  I particularly enjoyed the comedy work of DeVine, and Pearlman who often steal the scenes they are in.

The movie’s climax and conclusion goes a bit “Lifetime Movie” with its melodrama and tearful crescendos, but these moments are bearable in the grand scheme of things.  Ladies will probably want to drag their dates to see this movie, but not to fear.  This movie is actually somewhat enjoyable and much more tolerable than the usual, terrible romantic comedy.


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