Sometimes you go to the movies expecting one thing, and something else happens. I went to see ‘The Intern’ expecting it to be a funny piece of enjoyable fluff. Rather like eating cotton candy. You know— empty calories, but nonetheless sweet. And sure enough Nancy Meyer’s latest film has its funny and sweet moments. But along the way to funny and sweet, there was actually a serious side to this film about work and family, and how to keep both those balls up in the air without dropping one or the other. Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway are an absolute pleasure to watch together on the screen, and you can tell they enjoyed doing this as well. They play 70 year old Ben Whitaker, just named at senior intern, at a dot.com company started by and made successful by Jules Ostin. Set in NY, and more specifically in Brooklyn, this movie is two hours of fun to watch, and as a bonus offers life lessons as well. The supporting cast, including an enjoyable Rene Russo as a massage therapist, is excellent as well. There are two intertwined story lines— whether Jules thinks she needs a CEO to help her run her burgeoning clothes empire, and whether her marriage (complete with house husband and beautiful precocious daughter) is going to survive the strain of a 70 hour a week job. Along the way, Ben Whitaker helps her on both fronts.
And there are surprises. From near the beginning of the movie, I figured it would end a certain way with Ben Whitaker saving the day. Well…. not exactly. And happily, the movie doesn’t go into the ridiculous zone with Hathaway, a married woman half his age, falling into bed with de Niro. Hooray for Hollywood, for once. This movie involves no bad language, no violence, no pets are harmed, no CG is used, no gratuitous sex, and a good time is had by all. They used to make a lot of movies like this. At least someone like Nancy Meyers realizes there are lots of folk out there who still enjoy such traditional sentimental films. May those producers increase.