The Intern ★★★½

Halfway in The Intern, e-commerce fashion company CEO Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) accidentally sends a rant "My mother is a raging bitch..." to her mother's computer and this causes a massive shitstorm. A plan must be devised to delete this message. Most people of the newer generation would consider trying to hack. But it's not doable in this scenario. The gentlemanly, organized and affable Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) has his own plan and decides to take things old school by rounding a crew to break into Jules' mother's home while she's at work and delete the e-mail. The self-proclaimed "Ocean's Eleven" ragtag group find a few mishaps along the way and still manage to come out unscathed as Adam Devine sits in the getaway car and raps along to "Break Yo' Neck" by Busta Rhymes.

For me, it's the most singularly hilarious scene of this year. The sheer randomness, heightened screwball antics and plausible obstacles are brilliantly conceived by its writer-director Nancy Meyers. It's even more amusing than John Cena's glorious moments in Trainwreck or the riotous Ayahuasca sequence from While We're Young.

Otherwise, The Intern is surprisingly bereft of these big laughs. It's also slightly less conventional than Meyers' Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated. Two polar opposites are established at their current station in life and gradually brought together: retired widow Ben who's now disinterested in killing time with yoga hobbies and withering away at home. So he enters Jules' "senior" internship program, while for her—she is completely unaware of this position—juggling the role of an online entrepreneur who just may need an extra hand in running an actual company.

The thorny beginnings of a professional relationship turn into this beautifully personal friendship. Hathaway's forced smiles as a potential OCD-ridden workaholic and De Niro's affections as a handkerchief-holding chauffeur could seemingly be an odd mix—and yet, the two deliver to naturally build a platonic connection. The idea of finding solace in a man who has experience and empathy is touching. Especially, for someone who is struggling to maintain a work-life balance with her husband and child. I just wish there was more than a quickly resolved moment of conflict between Ben and Jules. That's my only qualm in how their bond is enlivened.

There's even a dose of marital fearfulness in the climactic stages. It took me aback. This is what managed to set a strong dramatic tone and still offered new information about a person who ponders about redefining her role in life.

Ultimately, it's certainly better than I could've expected. Give it a year and I'd rewatch The Intern if it ever screened on nighttime television on a rainy day. It's adorable, pleasing and likable enough for this viewer.

Nick Vass liked this review