Last week, I was waiting in line at a local store that sells produce and other fall items, overhearing the owner discuss the new employees hired, who seemed to be doing an overall good job, “except one showed up in flip flops.”
The young uns’ at Jules Ostin’s (Anne Hathaway) online fashion site don’t quite stoop that low, wardrobe-wise, but they do, at least the men, tend to take a casual approach to dressing, something that new seventy-something intern Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is able to help correct. By the end of “The Intern,” they’re even wearing ties and carrying bona fide briefcases – purchased on eBay. Perhaps there is hope for that generation yet.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you pretty much know the plot of “The Intern,” which is that Robert decides to participate in a program run by Anne’s company which has decided to recently recruit people over sixty. After making a decent video pitch (cover letters are so old-fashioned) and acing a round of interviews with some uncomfortable questions (i.e. “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”), he’s ready to go. He has ample experience in sales and marketing, among other departments, after retiring from a phone book making company. (And actually, they still seem to be in circulation, at least one showed up at my doorstep, source unknown, last year.) Anyway, soon Robert’s bonding with the other interns and employees, giving them advice on relationships and enjoying the unexpected perks today’s workplaces offer (at least in the movies), such as a sexy company masseuse (Rene Russo). But winning over Anne will take more time.
Anne is being pressured to hire another more “seasoned” CEO with whom, I think, they are supposed to share the company with an agreement that neither fires the other. Of course, all of the proposed candidates are male, and no one even raises the prospect of another woman coming on board. Anne is also having marital conflict with her stay-at home husband and young daughter, who feel that they hardly ever get to see her, and the latter soon adopts Robert as a kind of honorary grandfather, once he begins driving Anne home and occasionally stepping inside to observe the not-so-happy family As a chauffeur, as well as taking on more and more responsibility at work, Robert quickly becomes familiar with Anne’s quirks, including her lack of confidence in herself and her fear that she will die single (don’t ask). Ultimately, there is a happy ending for all involved, if a bit too rose-colored for my taste.
“The Intern,” is a nice light romantic comedy, and it’s hard to deny that Anne and Robert have a great rapport (which helps as both take many turns making speeches about life while the other listens sympathetically). It is best enjoyed by not thinking too hard about plot holes and simply sitting back and observing this world where everyone is well-off and photogenic, and all problems can be solved if both parties are willing to bare their souls and deliver some very clichéd dialogue. Otherwise, if you’re in the mood for something darker, give it a skip.