Let me start off by telling you that I generally love Nancy Meyers as a writer as well as a director. FATHER OF THE BRIDE (and FATHER OF THE BRIDE PART 2), THE HOLIDAY, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE and THE PARENT TRAP are all wonderful. (Incidentally, as I’m writing this, I realize that I’ve interviewed the stars of each of these movies during my career.) If I had to pick a favorite female director, I’d pick Nancy Meyers.
I tell you all of this because it was with extremely high hopes that I walked into THE INTERN. In addition to being a Nancy Meyers fan, I’m a huge Anne Hathaway fan and so this movie has been on my “to see” list as I counted down the days.
Imagine my (disappointed) surprise to find that I spent the entire two hours hoping for the probable ending for a bit of “feel good” in this otherwise dreary movie. To be extremely fair, I think a huge part of the problem is that Nancy Meyers has built a solid brand with her movies—they’re generally feminist without being cringe-inducing for those of us who hate to label ourselves. They also have a major romantic comedy bend. This movie was not in that same trope and, had I realized what I’d be watching, would have passed.
The overall premise of the movie is that Jules (Anne Hathaway) is 18 months into a very successful internet start-up that specializes in selling women’s clothing. The company decides to start a Senior Intern Program (anyone over age 65 may apply) and Ben (Robert De Niro) applies. He’s a widowed, retired business executive looking for something to fill his days.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two of my favorite supporting actors as well: Adam DeVine and Linda Lavin. Am I the only one who loves Adam DeVine more from MODERN FAMILY than the PITCH PERFECT franchise? Who doesn’t love Linda Lavin from the days of ALICE and, more recently, THE GOOD WIFE?
This is an impressive cast with an impressive writer/director so my hopes were extremely high. All I could think during the film, though, was that it was everything a stereotypical female shouldn’t be and everything Nancy Meyers normally rallies against. Supposedly a great businesswoman, Jules cries 3.5 times in the movie. Her assistant cries because Jules isn’t nice to her. Jules’ quirk is riding a bicycle through the office for exercise–while her poor assistant runs beside her. Are there any strong, identifyable women in this movie? Of course people are allowed to cry and have emotions, but when it seems like that’s all they do, you can’t help but long for a bit of Miranda Priestly (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) to come in and take over.
This movie was more about Ben being the big, strong, accomplished, intelligent, reliable man. (I could go on and on with the adjectives.) At one point, he even comments that he shouldn’t have to be the feminist while talking to Jules.
The feminist side of me didn’t love this movie. We aren’t all feminists, though—closeted or otherwise. The movie is certainly not all bad. As often as I’ve seen Robert De Niro in movies, this was the first time that I absolutely loved him. He felt approachable, gentle, and sad-yet-optimistic. Jules says that she feels at peace around him and I agree. He couldn’t have projected that better; I could have watched an entire movie about his character alone. He felt the most real (with the exception of an unbelievable heist scene).
The supporting actors were all wonderful, too. I mentioned Adam DeVine and Linda Lavin already. Renee Russo, Christina Scherer and Zack Pearlman were fabulous. Definitely see the movie for these excellent cast!
If we think of movie characters as being real people and we’re watching a snippet of their lives, then I’ll take all of these characters–I just request another snippet.
*Want to see another great Anne Hathaway movie? Visit Amazon.com.