MOVIE MAN

‘The Intern’ shines early, but then it’s no sale

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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The Movie Man had planned on going to see “Pan” this week, but that did not occur because of circumstances beyond his control.

So he dropped back a little to catch “The Intern,” which is a bummer because “Pan” would’ve been fun to talk about since it’s one of the big failures of the year.

ABOUT THE FILM

Nancy Meyers does not have to worry about bottom lines. “The Intern” is performing OK, but not like her other upscale, glitzy, frothy movies like “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003, with a great performance by Diane Keaton, $124.6 million) and “It’s Complicated” (2009, $112.7 million).

She directed one big hit, “What Women Want” (2000, $182.8 million, back when Mel Gibson was still red hot).

“The Intern,” now at around $55 million, won’t reach those lofty levels, but it will approach making back double on its $35 million budget. Not bad.

THE PLOT (SPOILER)

Ben (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower who is bored. He applies for a senior internship and gets hired. Soon he is working for Jules (Anne Hathaway), the boss of a booming clothing company.

She is almost overwhelmed with responsibilities, which means she’s often away from her husband (Anders Holm) and daughter (JoJo Kushner).

Slowly Hathaway sees that De Niro is a wise old fellow – helping not only her, but many of her staff.

Hathaway must decide whether to give up running the company to calm her life, which she (and De Niro) knows includes her husband having an affair.

A decision is made, but other voices are soon to be heard.

WHAT WORKS

De Niro is super (see Best scene). And while the Movie Man isn’t a big Hathaway fan, she’s good, too.

Little cutie Kushner is a scene stealer.

Meyers is a good director. She’s adept at making cities look like wonderful places to live in – clean and vibrant. And the actors are all dressed impeccably. “The Intern” looks fantastic, Meyers’ specialty.

An effort is made to make this movie both a feminist statement and an old school “wise old man knows best” picture. “The Intern” pulls it off most of the time.

BEST SCENE

In a hotel, De Niro has stayed with Hathaway until she fell asleep. The TV is on with Gene Kelley in “Singing in the Rain” (1952), performing “You Were Meant for Me.” While De Niro has only barely mentioned his late wife, clearly this song had some connection to her. His eyes well up and so do plenty in the audience.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Out of nowhere comes a scene that involves breaking into a house to recover an errant email. De Niro and three young interns have a wacky escapade trying to delete the email. The scene has a couple of laughs, but it’s way out of place.

All of the other characters are background, and they have little to do. Russo especially is wasted.

The movie meanders over the final hour, and, at over two hours, it becomes trying.

A scene where De Niro is mocking the famous mirror scene in “Taxi Driver” is not funny.

THE RATING

The movie is vulgarity-free for a long time until a couple of f-bombs arrive. This is the mildest of PG-13s.

SUMMING UP

“The Intern” is very good for its first half. Then … not so much.

NEXT UP

It’s a tough call between “Crimson Peak” and “Bridge of Spies.”

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