Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Intern Review by Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway
Genre: Comedy
Strapline: "Experience never gets old."

So, in a nutshell?
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin. With his foot in the door, Ben brings hope and life to a career driven lady who has lost touch with who she really is, and what is important to her.

So, what are my thoughts?
In 1973, Martin Scorsese decided to cast an unknown actor by the name of Robert De Niro. It would serve as the then 30-year-old's big break in cinema. He would go onto star in some of cinema's most iconic and celebrated movies, Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995) and Heat (1995) and in the process become a true legend of modern cinema.

However, with the turn of the 21st century, truly iconic roles dried up. Of his 37 movies since 2000, quantity not quality has certainly been the watchword. In terms of drama, with the exception of The Good Shepherd (2006) this great actor has little to show from the last 15 years of cinema other than play a caricature of his well known persona honed in the said iconic movies of his earlier years. I have not seen Silver Linings Playbook (2012) or American Hustle (2013) for which I know he is famed.

His foray into the world of comedy has had decidedly mixed results. Movies such as Meet the Parents (2000), Analyze That (2002), and Last Vegas (2013), perhaps being his best. Fast forward to 2015 and we have Nancy Meyer's seventh outing in the director's chair, The Intern. The Intern is an affable comedy that will do little to offend, but also little to excite. It won't harm De Niro's career but it also not give his career the shot the arm that it so deservedly needs.

Robert De Niro is on fine form though as he turns in an affable Uncle Fluffy performance. Unflappable, old fashioned and wise would best describe his character Ben. Although the consummate professional acquits himself well, his part could have gone to say Tom Hanks and it would have been equally effective. Talking about Tom Hanks, De Niro's character reminded me a lot of Hank's Larry Crowe in the film of the same name. Nice, clean-cut neat guy who exists at a different rhythm to all those around him. Accompanying De Niro is Hathaway, who I liked in this movie. Her character grew on me as the movie went on and as her character warmed to Ben. As a result, they had good solid chemistry between them.  

The supporting cast is made up of a smattering of well known faces, a nice subtle turn from Rene Russo as Fiona the companies masseuse, being my favourite. Adam DeVine of Pitch Perfect fame features but as with that movie tries too hard to be funny. He is upstaged by Zack Pearlman as Davis, De Niro's fellow intern.

The Intern is just a nice middle of the road movie, hence there is not too much to write about this one. The movie has some nice laughs, and some nice moments that play well on the age gap where the Instagram generation meets the Telegram generation, but there are not enough of these moments. Also the pacing is out of whack leading the movie to drag and feel overlong. Nothing much happens and save the more serious moments between De Niro and Hathaway that produce some affecting moments, there is little to write home about. 

My Rating -  3 out of 5 stars
The Intern is just a good movie. Nothing more, nothing less. De Niro produces a nice turn as Ben the unfazed sage gentleman of a bygone age. Hathaway equally acquits herself well in the dual lead role. However, the two leads aside there is not enough here to recommend that you go out and pay top price to see this movie. This is an ideal movie to watch cuddled up on the couch under a blanket with a glass of wine and the roaring fire. Skip this one at the movies and catch it at home. 

The Intern is released from October 2nd in the UK

The Intern Review by Carleton Rutter