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Most Interns Are Bad, But ‘The Intern’ is Pretty Good!

Category : Entertainment

The Intern

Warner Bros.

The Intern doubles as a weird case study in how our brains are culturally programmed. When we first meet retiree and lonely widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), he’s fidgeting around with technology he doesn’t quite understand in an effort to make a video resumé for a position as a “senior intern” at a hip online Brooklyn clothing retailer. Immediately, my brain started telling me, Oh, see, Ben is going to be the dopey “old” guy who just doesn’t understand technology and it will be played for as many dumb jokes as possible. Then we meet the CEO of the aforementioned company, Jules (Anne Hathaway), and my brain once again assumed, Oh, this is going to be the tired trope of the demanding and mean woman boss who is going to learn to enjoy life again through Ben’s dopiness.

Anyway, I was wrong.

I don’t blame myself for thinking that, because we’ve seen both these scenarios play out way too many times over the last few years. It’s a defense mechanism. It’s fight or flight. In other words: I have the right to defend myself or, at least, prepare myself in these situations. And then after I braced myself for impact, nope, none of this happened.

I was well aware that Nancy Meyers wrote and directed The Intern and also aware that there was little chance Meyers would play into these tropes. If anything, Meyers has a knack for making conventional movies that are not conventional. And in 2015, making the woman CEO of a company into a normal human being is unconventional — and something Meyers does with Hathaway’s Jules extremely well.

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Mike Ryan

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