An intern's take on 'The Intern' 

Robert De Niro stars.

'THE INTERN': Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro star.
  • 'THE INTERN': Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro star.

As a 40-year-old intern who was once told "You're the oldest intern I've ever seen," I was particularly excited to see Robert De Niro, currently age 72, in "The Intern," written and directed by Nancy Meyers of "It's Complicated" and "Something's Gotta Give" fame. I went in expecting a farce, in which senior citizen Ben (Robert De Niro) would foolishly fumble technology, and young company founder Jules (Anne Hathaway) would ridicule him, a relationship which, through the classic (and predictable) tale of young educating old and old appreciating young, would finally melt into a fondness for each other's weaknesses and a kind-hearted ribbing sort of friendship.

Right off the bat, I was sure I was correct. The movie opens with Ben finding a flyer looking for "Seniors" interested in interning at All About the Fit, an online fashion store that is going supernova. Ha! I thought. This out-of-touch retiree will mistakenly apply for a position looking for fourth-year college students. Hilarity will ensue.

But the movie had more than a few surprises in store. First of all, the flyer clearly states they were looking for people 65 years or older; the typical "Three's Company"-style misunderstandings were no longer a possibility. And while, in stereotypical fashion, Ben has to call his 9-year-old grandson to help him shoot his video cover letter, De Niro showcases his nuanced acting in the clip, declaring that he knows there's a hole in his life he needs to fill and insisting, ever so vulnerably, that he still has "music" in him.

When Ben first enters All About the Fit's refurbished factory space, "hipster" is the obvious name of the game: Jules rides around the office on a bicycle. The first girl who interviews Ben (wearing a sweatshirt and Converses to Ben's suit and tie) asks him, "What was your major? Do you remember?" And the last to interview Ben asks him, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" "When I'm 80?" Ben retorts. But thanks to the senior intern program's philosophy that people with decades of life experience just might have more to contribute than people who spent the last four years playing beer pong, Ben is hired.

Ben's old-fashioned ways and wisdom are an immediate hit with the young crowd. He props up an analog clock on his desk. His neighboring co-worker admires his 1973 briefcase. Ben asserts in the orientation that "Gray is the new green," and (surprise, surprise) he is assigned to perform his internship directly with Jules.

Ben's first task after days of being ignored? Get Jules' jacket cleaned. But, as luck would have it, Ben enters the conference room to retrieve Jules' jacket just in time to hear that, to her dismay, All About the Fit's investors are strongly recommending Jules hire an experienced CEO. Business is booming, and they're worried she might not be able to keep up with it on her own.

The business isn't the only thing Jules isn't keeping up with. She rarely sees her daughter, and her husband (who has chosen to stay at home so that Jules can pursue her dream) is having an affair. If it weren't for the intervention of Ben, she'd even have ended up being chauffeured around by a drunk. But the observant senior intercedes, and, despite Jules' best efforts to keep him at arm's length, a tender relationship between the two develops.

Yet again — at halfway through the movie this time — I thought I knew exactly how this movie would pan out. Ben would become the revered sage in the office and Jules would realize that her best option would be to hire him as her CEO. Instead, Ben gets to be a tad goofy, just like all the young folks in his office: He sports an erection when the company massage therapist gives him a shoulder rub (prompting the twentysomething next to him to loan him a newspaper for cover), and he stages a heist with his zany sidekicks to retrieve an irritated email Jules doesn't want her mother to see. But through it all, De Niro remains even-keeled and endearing. And when it comes time for Jules to hire a CEO, you might be just as surprised as I was.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Heather Steadham

  • Home for Christmas

    Ballet Arkansas returns to Robinson with Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker.'
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • It'll get you in the holiday spirit

    A review of the Rep's "A Christmas Story.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Gift Guide

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, a gift guide.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Movie Reviews

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation