“The Intern” Pits Aging De Niro and Youthful Hathaway
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
As we Baby Boomers get older, and jobs get scarcer, and techie entrepreneurs get younger, this is a timely movie.
Here we meet a retiree named Ben Whittaker (that’s our not-so-raging bull) who has been hired as an intern reporting to the dynamic young founder of an e-commerce fashion business. Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway, back in the Devil-Wears-Prada business) sees the irony of having a 70-year-old intern, but discovers she needs his help when co-workers attempt to push her out of the company’s CEO seat.
A sweet but predictable plot. As one blogger on the Internet Movie Database Message Board put it, “Yes you pretty much know what you’ll get after watching the trailer but still it’s a Nancy Meyer film. A sign there is both quality and heart beyond it. And De Niro and Hathaway seems to be a good pairing.”
Indeed they are. But director Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Gotta Give”) originally approached her old friend Jack Nicholson for the role of Ben. And Reese Witherspoon was locked in for the role of Jules.
And at another time the movie was slated to star Michael Caine and Tina Fey.
But schedules in Hollywood are difficult to juggle and casts get changed.
“I’m glad you also see the humor in this,” says Jules when she meets her new intern.
“Be hard not to,” responds Ben, standing there, a dignified older man in suit and tie amid a gaggle of twentysomethings wearing sweaters and jeans.
“How have men gone in one generation from Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to …?” Jules nods toward her shaggy, unkempt nerdy staff.
“Oh boy,” Ben/De Niro says, rolling his eyes.
Some fans think a fine dramatic actor like De Niro is selling out by appearing in silly comedies like “Meet the Fockers,” “Grudge Match,” and this.
Another blogger goes so far as to revision this movie for De Niro: “He needs to team with Scorsese in ‘Bus Driver,’ about a pissed-off transit employee who has insufficient funds to retire, and has no tolerance for metro drivers who don’t signal, kids who sneak on without paying, and modern pimps.”
“Do you really think that De Niro chooses this over something from Scorsese?” chides a third blogger. “When you’re 70 years old you don’t get offered the same kind of roles that you do when you're 30.”
“Pacino, Ford, Hoffman, Redford, etc. were busy,” smirks another.
“These old actors are past their prime, past major billings,” someone else pipes up.
“They take what they get, not what they want,” opines another young blogger.
There it is, just like in the movie. Youth versus experience. But as the movie’s poster proclaims, “Experience Never Gets Old.”