Ugly truth time: this is the type of movie that I hate, easily. Hate right out of the gate. Hate just at the poster stage, really.
Forgive me. I’m at work on Christmas Eve and it’s slow. I finally finished watching Youth and didn’t feel up to subtitles (Samba), so The Intern it is. And I don’t know if it’s the magic of the season finally melting my cold, dark heart, but: I didn’t hate it.
I didn’t exactly love it, but I did almost love Robert De Niro’s performance. He doesn’t need to flex a lot of muscle in this role, but he’s charming and humble and I think he plays the part of retired but still vigorous perfectly. The bigger surprise is Anne Hathaway, who I am on record as disliking a great deal. In this I found her almost likeable. Again, clearly not her most demanding role, but she toed the line between strength and vulnerability in an interesting way.
Nancy Meyer’s direction is straight-forward but effective. The story misses the point a bit: it starts off as The Intern (a 70-year-old man applies to be an intern at a “hip” e-commerce business, whatever that means) but then veers off toward something safer and more predictable. The world didn’t need another joke about how old people don’t know Facebook. Have you even been on Facebook lately? It’s been taken over by grandmas! At any rate, it doesn’t fulfill its promise. But it’s a not bad way to spend an afternoon, grandmas and all.
Casting high: Andrew Rannells. I first encountered him as part of the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon, which I can’t recommend enough. He played opposite Josh Gad who has also become a Big Deal, and the pair were clearly destined to be stars.
Casting low: Rene Russo. Nothing against Rene, it’s more that she’s the requisite “old lady” partnered up with De Niro and is forced to say the line “at our age,” insinuating that they are the same age. I really struggled with that, considering this movie has a bit of a feminist bent to it, but upon Googling I see that Rene is actually 61 years old and only 11 years younger than De Niro. “Only” 11 years younger, mind you. As you know, age differences can be much more egregious in Hollywood (and she’s actually a year older than De Niro’s real life wife). So instead of a casting low, I’ll just say: Rene – damn, girl.