The Intern Review - The Most Average Movie Ever Made (But At Least De Niro Looks Awake For Once)

An ultimately inoffensive comedy.

Rating: ˜…˜…˜… Hey guys, don't old people find technology strange? USB, .avi and e-commerce are just gibberish to them, and don't even try and get them to turn on a Macbook. They just don't keep up with modern developments; isn't it hilarious? And hey guys, aren't modern companies weird and kooky? People ride bikes round the office, everyone's chillaxed, man, and (gasp) there's no dress code. They just don't realise business is meant to be serious; isn't it hilarious? There, I just saved you from having to watch the entire opening half hour of The Intern. No need to panic as you struggle to find a parking space in amongst all the people who actually drive out to visit a Frankie & Benny's or to rush while waiting for a platter of nachos doused in Cheese Flavour„ sauce and spicy, flavourless green bits - all you need to know that retired and bored Robert De Niro (old) has just become the intern for startup CEO Anne Hathaway (young).
It's a slog to say the least - even with a latter-day De Niro actually trying (for once) it's arduous wading through all the worn stereotypes and oddly brash humour. In fact, the only point in the opening that made me smile was when a single person in the screening guffawed at a lazy sex reference. Hilarious! Thankfully, once the movie's thrown out all the ageist clichés it needs to appease those brought in by the trailer (who are you people?) things pick up; the fact that De Niro is really, super-duper old becomes less of an issue and we get an interesting, sometimes offbeat comedy about the benefit of experience. The two Oscar-winning actors are both game and wind up having some pretty sweet interactions. In fact, if there's a single element that makes this film passable, it's this pairing, which is rarer praise for either of them than it should be.
When it comes down to it, what The Intern really is is a movie made to cast a wide an audience net as possible: those age jokes will either be empathised with or viewed with distance and found weird/sweet, as will the contrasting moments that either speak well of a time gone by or delight in the modern generation; one of the stars is a living legend beloved for decades while the other is a young, attractive great; the streets of Brooklyn are made bright, welcoming and indistinct, the perfect place to live no matter who you are; the message is one of being true to yourself. It's the same approach as Nancy Myers' previous (The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give etc.), and like those movies this film is ultimately average. Average, average, average. A vanilla movie rooted in mediocrity. You know what's going to happen and how exactly it's going to be presented well ahead of time, but it's still amenable enough to vaguely work. The Intern is made to appeal to everyone in the broadest possible sense and, bar that unfunny beginning and a final act that drags, it just about achieves that. Two Oscar winners star in an inoffensive movie? Yeah, that's the best way to express my ultimate ambivalence.
The Intern is in US cinemas now and in UK cinemas from 2nd October.
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.