Combustible Celluloid
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With: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, JoJo Kushner, Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Jason Orley, Christina Scherer, Nat Wolff, Linda Lavin, Celia Weston, Steve Vinovich, C.J. Wilson
Written by: Nancy Meyers
Directed by: Nancy Meyers
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language
Running Time: 121
Date: 09/25/2015

The Intern (2015)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Hardly Working

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For a movie that's supposedly about life experience, The Intern shows very little. Writer/director Nancy Meyers seems to love her characters, seventy year-old "senior intern" at a startup internet fashion company Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), and the "difficult" yet adorable owner/boss of that company, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Meyers puts them through very human situations and struggles, and sometimes manages to ask questions about current feminist values. Throughout, both De Niro and Hathaway give everything they can, she breaking hearts and he as likable as possible given that his character is more or less perfect. ("You always say the right thing," a character says.)

But as a movie, The Intern is only barely watchable. After decades in the movie biz — Meyers' debut was as the screenwriter of Private Benjamin in 1980 — her directorial style consists of bleached, polished images, scrubbed of life. There's no dramatic tension in her flat, film-school frames, and nearly every scene is drizzled with a twittery, tinkly musical score, thereby dousing any potential comedy in this would-be comedy-drama. Outside of the two stars, the rest of the cast, no matter how talented, are reduced to stock players with a single personality trait each. At least the hard-working De Niro and Hathaway nearly keep this company afloat.

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