The Intern review: A painful, unfunny generation-clash comedy
Direction: Nancy Meyers
Actors: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway
This painfully unfunny culture/generation-clash comedy squanders the talents of its Oscar-winning lead pair. It is particularly distressing to see Robert De Niro reduced to mugging.
The veteran actor portrays a 70-year-old widower who lands the job of an intern at a trendy fashion website. Right away he is told by a younger colleague (the average age of the employees is about 22) that if he wants to win the approval of the boss lady, he must blink in her presence.
It is an indication of how the mighty have fallen when, four decades on from his iconic “You talkin’ to me” outburst in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro stands in front of a bathroom mirror again, only to mutely blink at his own reflection.
Of course, it’s not long before the start-up whiz (Hathaway, who incidentally played a lowly errand girl in the vastly superior fashionista fantasy, The Devil Wears Prada) warms up to the new recruit. She even seeks his help during a domestic crisis.
Devoid of a genuine sense of entertainment, The Intern strives in vain to vault above the limitations of its formulaic script. It’s one of those purported laughathons in which one waits for some amusing situation, with no luck. Instead, the viewer has to suffer in silence during a break-in to retrieve a wrongly addressed e-mail.
The direction by Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give) is undistinguished. The editing devolves into a structural and tonal mess.
On paper, the cast assembled by Meyers is creditable, but Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway aren’t able to garner anything more than the occasional chuckle. As the in-house masseuse, old-timer Rene Russo is borderline offensive.
Simply put, it’s a chore to sit through The Intern.