Nancy Meyers brings her brand of comedic drama featuring a strong female character to the screen once again in The Intern. This time it’s Anne Hathaway as Jules, the CEO of a flourishing NYC online fashion company who’s struggling to balance her harried work life with her personal one. The latter includes her stay at home husband (Anders Holm) and little girl. Jules finds someone to assist with that balance in the form of Ben (Robert De Niro). He used to work at a phone book company (an obsolete business) and he’s battling general boredom in his retirement. The 70 year old widower decides to apply for a senior internship with Jules’s company and he’s soon assigned to work directly under her.
The Intern explores the issues of Jules deciding whether or not to hand control of the business over to an outside CEO. There’s also some marital issues at hand and her ongoing frustration with her distant mother, which helps explain some of her own personality quirks. We have Ben’s burgeoning romance with the company’s in house masseuse (Rene Russo). As the over two hour tale unfolds, the pathos level continues to increase as Ben and Jules become closer.
It’s all perfectly pleasant, continually earnest, and sad to say – a little dull. Hathaway’s performance gives her an interesting and strong character to play with, even if her work here comes off a bit mannered occasionally. De Niro is in Mr. Nice Guy mode and he’s just fine, even if this part isn’t exactly challenging in any way.
Frankly, there’s not much else to say here. The Intern can be a little bland but it’s engaging enough to not be a total waste of time. Faint praise, I recognize. If you’ve enjoyed Meyers pics such as What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, you’ll probably think this is decent.
**1/2 (out of four)