On a flight at 6 AM, countless feet above the ground, I could have caught up on cinematic masterpieces but instead I chose to watch The Intern. Can you blame me? It’s a Nancy Meyers film, features 2/3 of Workaholics, and would suck up half of my plane ride. Easy decision. For better or worse, this is the first 100% Meyers movie I have seen (The Parent Trap and Father of the Bride were collaborative affairs) so I won’t be fan-girling or treating this solely as one of her films, but a film in general. And with that in mind… it’s clear Meyers can write about women’s struggles and love and include some quippy lines. But a lot of Intern had me figuratively scratching my head.
Thirty-something Jules (Anne Hathaway) is the founder and CEO of About the Fit, an online retailer that features reviews about the actual fit of the clothes. So, Mod Cloth with Anne Hathaway. Jules runs around (or bikes) the office frantically, trailed by Andrew Rannells (I’m sorry, Cameron) and an assistant who solely uses sticky notes for note taking (strange, no?). Cameron has set up a senior (citizen) intern program and soon the office gains a few new interns, with 70 year old retiree Ben (Robert De Niro) assigned to Jules herself. Almost immediately after, Jules learns that investors want to bring a seasoned CEO to the company and Ben becomes the ultimate shoulder to lean on.
As Jules interviews her potential bosses, we overhear lots in the supposedly trendy office; things like, “Let me track that for you,” “Can we make this ‘5’ more graphic?” and “You wanna Netflix something?” Perhaps most painful is an Arby’s-esque bell which is rung by a woman who shouts, “We just hit a record high of 2500 likes on Instagram!!!” My office would kill me. Fortunately, with every unintentional laughable moment (did I mention “All About that Bass” is played?) there is some gravitas. Ben is handling his status as a widow, Jules is trying to find work/life balance in addition to hiring a CEO, and lots of younger people at the office have their own (minimally played out but genuine) struggles. Whether or not Ben would be so generous and willing to help them is another post altogether.
The movie is often inconsistent (random voice-overs, breaking the fourth wall at the start) and frequently mockable but also, as the woman seated next to me repeatedly said, “so, so cute. It’s so cute.” For as out of touch and cliché as Intern can feel, it’s got just as much going for it. Even if I’d been on the ground watching it at a reasonable hour, I would have enjoyed it. Believe me, that’s saying a lot.