Prior to Frontier taking over Verizon as my cable provider, I found this little film on the 10 minute free preview section of the On Demand area. Sadly, most of that doesn't work now. And yet Frontier keeps charging full price for cable service while not providing full services. Go figure. Anyway . . .
The Intern stars Robert DeNiro as Ben Whittaker, a 70 year old widower who spent 40 years in marketing, advertising and production of physical phone books. Retired now, Ben spends his days doing Tai Chi in the park, going to the endless funerals of his contemporaries and dodging the bluntly amorous and unwanted advances of Linda Lavin who doesn't hesitate to remind Ben that he isn't getting any younger.
Ben sees an ad for senior interns as one of these up and coming internet companies and decides to give it a go. Most of Ben's back story is delivered via his video resume/application. It's endearing and delightful and gets Ben an interview at About the Fit, an online clothing store started by Jules Ostin, played by Anne Hathaway, a mom who realized that at the end of the day, a woman with a glass of wine and a laptop had real buying potential.
The company has skyrocketed in 18 short months from a bare bones staff of 20, to over 200 employees, a huge workplace in a redeveloped old factory in Red Hook and is experiencing all the growing pains commensurate with that quick growth. Jules herself is harried and obsessively hands-on, taking customer complaint calls personally, travelling to the warehouse to show how to properly pack shipments, etc. Her home life is suffering as her stay-at-home husband wants some "me" time, and her impossibly precocious daughter doubts her mom can do normal "mom" stuff like make guacamole.
There are several threads running through the movie -- Ben acclimating to the new age workplace with its open floor plan, people bringing their pets to work, no one actually comes over and asks for something, they just send an e-mail to whoever is sitting two feet away, and so on. Jules is under pressure from her investors to hire a CEO for the company to keep the trains running while she handles the inspiration part of the business. And Jules isn't crazy about an intern working with her, especially an older one.
Naturally their relationship grows from the awkward beginnings into a true friendship/mentor type of thing. Thankfully the writers avoided what most filmmakers would have done and gone for a May-December attraction bit. But Jules comes to trust Ben's business advice as she realizes he has no other agenda than to help the company and her, both professionally and personally. It is a refreshing relationship portrayal and one this old guy enjoys seeing on the screen.
Something else this old guy liked was the appearance of a workplace crush for Ben in the form of Rene Russo's character, Fiona. When I think of Russo, my first thought always goes to this image of her:
Russo is 62 years old now and looks fabulous. And it's nice to see both her and DeNiro playing their ages in a movie and looking awesome doing it. In this movie, Russo's character is an e-commerce masseuse and her introduction to Ben is a hilarious moment in the movie.
It's also enjoyable to watch DeNiro's wonderfully expressive face put to good use here. He conveys pages of dialogue with simply a look, something commented on by Jules at one point in the movie. And equally fun is Ben's occasional "get off my yard" shtick as he goofs on the young guys at the company for dressing like slobs and not knowing why a gentleman carries a handkerchief and so on. If he had told one of them to take a shave and do something with their f*cking hair, he would have hit my personal trifecta.
A word about Anne Hathaway here too. She does a great job in this movie. I've never understood the sh*t she takes from critics and childish internet bloggers. She is classically beautiful and takes her craft seriously. I've never seen her in anything where she didn't turn in a skillful performance, and this film is no exception. She's funny when she needs to be and emotional when that's needed and other than one moment of clumsy dialogue (and that's not her fault), she is spot on in this movie from start to finish. Frankly her critics need to shut the f*ck up about her and try to enjoy a legitimate and talented actress at work.
All in all, I highly recommend this movie if you want something simply enjoyable to watch. The Intern has made its way into my default movie list -- I'll watch it anytime it's on and not be disappointed. Give it a try.
Here's a little gallery of Rene Russo and Anne Hathaway hotness to round things out nicely:
Did you find this review helpful? Check out my other reviews for my thoughts on the flicks and the occasional gallery of hotness that accompanies them: