Movie Date: The Intern (PG13)
STARRING: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Nat Wolff, Adam DeVine
DIRECTOR: Nancy Meyers
THE SKINNY: Seventy-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (De Niro) feels like something is missing in his life after retirement. Determined to make a change, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion company owned by the formidable Jules Ostin (Hathaway).
This is a very conventional flick that has been very competently executed.
There's nothing particularly interesting about it, but it's smart and entertaining.
Writer-director Meyers specialises in these sorts of inconsequential feel-good movies like What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated.
Her stuff tends to be "high concept" - stories built around a simple, sellable premise.
Here, we have De Niro as Hathaway's intern.
Just hearing that phrase, it's not difficult to imagine how The Intern will play out.
I'm guessing that the story practically wrote itself.
That said, this is actually my favourite Meyers picture.
She's really given De Niro a chance to shine.
He's not just an old guy, he's an avatar of gentlemanliness.
His Ben is polite, rational, disciplined and ethical and he makes us long for the days when guys were actually like that.
Trouble is, there were no days when guys were actually like that.
As much as I enjoyed The Intern, I couldn't help but find its sense of nostalgia suspect.
It's especially strange seeing this sort of romantic conservatism coming from Meyers, who's obviously a gal.
In some ways, she seems kind of progressive, but then she has this weird hankering for "real men".
For goodness sake, didn't she see Mad Men?
Hathaway has graduated from being the fashion intern in The Devil Wears Prada to the big boss in The Intern.
It feels like a natural progression for Hathaway, who gets to tap into her funny, goofy side while showing real gravitas.
For those who used to revile the US actress for looking too perfect or fake at awards season in 2013, which culminated in her cloying Best Supporting Actress Oscar acceptance speech for Les Miserables, we're pleased to announce that "Hathahate" is officially over.
As Jules, Hathaway is at once powerful and vulnerable, making firm decisions about her fashion retail business, but also prone to puking on the street after too many tequila shots.
The chemistry between Hathaway and De Niro is fantastic and the easy friendship that develops between the two is the anchor for the whole movie.
De Niro turns up his "old gentleman" charm, whether he's extolling the virtues of the handkerchief or cracking jokes about his impending death.
The Intern is focused on their mentor-mentee relationship - Jules' marriage issues with her stay-home husband are just a side plot.
Still, it's a sweet flick with plenty of "aww" moments, peppered with wisdom and insight.
Actually, it'll make for a better "date" movie for any woman and her dad.
THE CONSENSUS: The Intern wields an old-fashioned charm, with both De Niro and Hathaway milking it like never before.
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