“The Intern” is a perfect example of not quitting while you are ahead.
Strong work from Robert DeNiro is wasted in a screenplay that is way too overstuffed with drama, especially for a film that wants to be a feel good drama. The result is a mixed bag that ultimately proves to be unsatisfying.
In “The Intern,” DeNiro plays Ben, a 70-year-old retiree and widower who sees a chance to get back in the workforce when an online fashion site announces a senior internship program.
Ben gets the internship and is assigned to the company’s founder, Jules (Anne Hathaway), a driven woman trying to juggle her career with her family.
“The Intern” is at its best when Ben is the focus. DeNiro is a lovable teddy bear here, just so charming and adorable. His interaction with younger co-workers is among the film’s best moments.
Unfortunately, Hathaway’s Jules gets just as much screen time – and her story is nowhere near as interesting.
Hathaway and DeNiro do have chemistry, but they don’t click quite the same as DeNiro does with the rest of his co-stars. When their budding friendship takes center stage in the final act, it really bogs the movie down. Not even a surprising plot twist can help save “The Intern,” which meanders to an unsatisfying conclusion.
It’s a shame too, because there is so much to like in “The Intern” – especially DeNiro. If only his character were given a better movie.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (A-), the Sundance Film Festival favorite based on the novel by Jesse Andrews. It’s a mixture of quirk and heart-breaking sadness that features plenty of humor – only to pull the emotional rug out from under its audience. It’s like watching a teenage tear-jerker by director Wes Anderson.
In “Me and Earl,” Thomas Mann plays Greg, a high school senior who enjoys making parody films with his friend Earl (R.J. Cyler) and staying under the radar at school.
His life changes when his mom forces him to visit a classmate named Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has just been diagnosed with leukemia.
Before long the friendship isn’t forced, and Greg is determined to do everything he can to help Rachel fight for her life.
“Me and Earl” is full of characters that you would likely see in an Anderson movie, self aware and always interesting.
Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon also uses some of the same visual tricks and use of colors and camera angles that are associated with Anderson.
Mann is good as Greg, but is overshadowed by the scene-stealing Cyler and a breakout performance from Cooke. (It’s still hard to believe this is the same actress who was in the forgettable horror flicks “The Quiet Ones” and “Ouija.”)
Cooke gives “Earl” that emotional punch in a final act that is both sad and uplifting.
Sure, some people might find the film’s glibness to be a little too overbearing, but it’s hard to argue with the film’s payoff – one of the more emotional finales of any film so far this year.
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements and will be available Tuesday on DVD.