Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo Anders Holm, JoJo Kushner,
Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine
Director: Nancy Meyers
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: Three featurettes
Length: 121 Minutes
Release Date: January 19, 2016
“I’m glad you also see the humor in this.”
“It would be hard not to.”
The Intern is both the kind of movie we see far too much of, and yet far too little at the same time. It’s your basic feel-good comedy with warm, loveable stars, but what makes it rare is that it’s actually quite good, and for the most part, smart.
Ben (DeNiro) is a 70 year old widower who has been retired for some time, and decides a life of leisure is not for him. He responds to a local website company’s ad for senior interns, and eventually scores the job, thanks to his terrific application video (arguably the best I’ve ever seen in my professional life).
He ends up the personal intern to the company’s founder, Jules (Hathaway), a never-stopping tank of business and success, who has no desire for an intern, much less one as attentive as Ben. There are days when Ben has nothing to do, but his work ethic is noticeable: he never leaves work before the boss does, and despite the casual attire of his co-workers, always dresses smartly in a suit and tie. And handkerchief…which turns out to be a most important accessory.
Jules finds Ben to be loyal and insightful, and though his powers of observation seem a little uncomfortable at first, warms up to him as not only an indispensable assistant, but a friend as well, especially when Ben begins to see the cracks in her perfect life at work and at home with her husband Matt (Holm).
It goes on a little long for a movie of this sort, and there are a few miscues…the film seems to be skillfully avoiding a few genre clichés as it goes along only to purposely dive deeply into one. But it works because of director and writer Nancy Meyers’ delightful script and pacing, and the appeal of the two lead stars.
Robert DeNiro is amazing…he spent most of his career as a brilliant character actor before occasionally deciding to have more fun and do sillier roles with less consequence. But he showed who he still was with his wonderful performance in Silver Linings Playbook, and here, he shows an actor known for tough, violent roles could be just as convincing as a world-wise, charming senior who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Watch as he rehearses his meeting with Jules in front of a mirror…no trace of Travis Bickle.
As someone who is still a good 15 years away from senior status, I appreciate the fact that this movie celebrates guys like Ben who still have a lot to offer. Much of his experience as an intern reminds me of how my own workmates, most of whom are younger than me, interact with me. Sometimes they think we’re just harmless old men, but then are pleasantly surprised at how sharp and effective we actually can be.
It’s not perfect, but so much better than most…you won’t regret the two hours you spend in the life of The Intern.
This is a lovely high definition transfer from Warner…nothing in the scenery is too demanding, but I’ve never seen Brooklyn look more beautiful, and images are crystal clear and sharp throughout, with nice coloring.
Likewise, there aren’t many demands made for the uncompressed audio, but dialogue is clear, front and center all the way, with no noticeable loss or distortion.
The extras include three short featurettes on the younger interns, as well as “Learning From Experience” and “Designs on Life”.
The Intern is a nice cut above the average comedy of the day. Thanks to a funny, insightful script and two wonderful performances by the Oscar-winning leads, this is the kind of film that feels less like a day at the office and more like a day of hooky with a couple of good friends.