Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HBO Movie Review: The Intern (2015)

The Intern (2015) - Written and Directed by Nancy Meyers; Starring Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, Andrew Rannells, Adam Devine.

By Kenny Howell

What's got lost in Dirty Grandpa-era Robert DeNiro is that he is a terrific actor.

Kids who are graduating high school now, have had access to very few movies where he has gotten to show what he can do, and what he did consistently back in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

But even in all those silly movies, occasionally one which could have been another paycheck turns out to be more than worthwhile, and a lot of the time because of him.

The Intern, which is currently playing on HBO, is definitely that. As much as Nancy Meyers tries to sabotage her own movie with tired old people jokes, and plots lifted directly from Seinfeld (though updated for the 21st century), DeNiro keeps it grounded because of his wonderful, touching performance.

He plays Ben, a retired, widowed man that is just looking for some sort of purpose. He is bored, and he thinks that getting back to work will be good for him. Luckily, an exploding tech company which sells women's clothes is looking for a senior intern. Not a senior in high school or college, but a senior citizen. DeNiro applies, wows the interviewers, and starts his job as the personal intern to the woman behind the company, a driven if a bit stretched to thin Jules (Anne Hathaway).

DeNiro has old business world experience that can help ground the free flowing party atmosphere of today's tech world, but most of all, he has a calm, steady approach that helps Jules navigate the tough world of being a CEO of a company that is quickly outgrowing its humble roots.

Meyers has a good core to this film in that Ben just needs to be a part of society, needs to be helping with someone and interacting with people. He wants to feel needed and that he is making a difference. Meyers could have easily fallen back on the very American feeling that you are not worthwhile unless you are working and contributing, and instead makes it more about human interaction and working together, establishing relationships and bringing as much joy as you can into life.

At the center of the whole film is of course Ben who is a sweet, generous man that shows the good in the world, and DeNiro perfectly embodies that. For a man that has spent years playing anti-heroes, he graciously takes on kindness, a man willing to do anything for his fellow man. It gives The Intern a sweet center that is hard to be cynical about, and probably ends up being Meyers best film.

The Intern is now playing on HBO.

Rating: ***

No comments:

Post a Comment