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Movie Night – ‘The Intern’ provides fresh take on genre

By Bradley Griffith

Romantic comedies aren’t exactly my favorite genre of movies. “The Intern” isn’t your average romantic comedy.  There’s something in this movie that everyone can enjoy, regardless of your age or gender.

Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower who is trying to find something to do with his life.  His wife of 42 years passed away.  He retired after working in the business world for 40 years with the same company.  After traveling and doing everything that he wanted to do in retirement he was left with a life of boredom.  But Ben isn’t your average retiree.  He wants to be productive and knows that he still has a lot to offer.

So when he sees a flyer for a senior internship at a local company Ben decides to apply.  Ben is not really sure how to go about applying for a job with an online fashion company who wants all prospective interns to apply by filming a short video of themselves and uploading it to YouTube. Despite his lack of knowledge about the Internet, Ben is able to upload his video application with the help of his grandson.  Ben is quickly selected as one of the newest interns for About the Fit.

The founder, owner, and CEO of About the Fit is Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), and she is a notoriously difficult boss.  It was Jules’ inspiration that started the company and she has built it from the ground up, from a company with barely twenty-five employees to one of the fastest growing online retailers with over 200 employees.

She cares deeply and passionately about her company and oversees literally every aspect of the operation.  From the inspiration for her products to the packaging and shipping of the finished product, Jules is in charge of it all.

Ben is selected to be Jules’ personal intern. While things start off a little rocky, Jules quickly learns the value of someone like Ben who has so much experience in business and in life.  Before long, Jules comes to rely heavily on Ben in virtually all matters.

“The Intern” was a surprise. It’s funnier than expected, yet also serious and sad.  The typical romantic comedy deals with issues that, frankly, have very little importance.  Silly girls and stupid boys are the norm.  “The Intern” is about real women and real men and what it means to be a real man.  It’s a refreshing take on the genre.

Robert De Niro is great as Ben Whittaker.  He’s straitlaced and formal, yet also approachable, honest, and has the highest degree of integrity.  It’s not De Niro’s usual role, but he performs perfectly.  The remainder of the cast, from Anne Hathaway to Renee Russo and others, were also spot on in their portrayals.  The movie was well made and well acted.

There are a couple of themes running throughout the movie, both of which are illustrated through Ben.  In this day and age where everyone’s idea of interaction with others is through texting or social media, Ben shows the other characters how there is still no substitute for genuine human interaction.  Sometimes the answer in this fast-paced world is to slow down, unplug, and reconnect.

Ben also illustrates the simple fact that, despite their age, everyone has something to contribute and deserves to be heard.  Ben’s experience in business and in life made him irreplaceable to Jules and a vital member of the company.

“The Intern” is equal parts funny, serious, sad, and heartwarming.  It’s definitely worth your money as a home rental.

Grade: B+

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language.