As Meyers ages, so do many of her characters, as evidenced by more recent efforts like Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated and, now, The Intern. However, the film’s beauty lies in the nuances that Meyers adds within the narrative.
Ben is a caricature of a good man of the sort who used to be caricatured in movies. Charming his way past Meryl Streep as her slimy ex-husband, he’s like a caveman going as Cary Grant for Halloween. This movie should not have been a comedy. You can put Matthew McConaughey opposite Jennifer Lopez, or Gerard Butler with Hilary Swank, Katherine Heigl, or Jennifer Aniston.
Meyers: I’ve heard about it. Not insane about the idea. She has altered the formula, for one thing. And, emotionally, you’re with him. Hathaway complements De Niro perfectly. Ben used to be an executive in the phone book industry and comes to work in handsomely tailored suits. She is joined by Adam Devine, Zack Pearlman, Andrew Rannels and Anders Holm. But his gravitas turns their pity into respect. It’s as if there’s no effort required, especially when it comes to his re-kindled love life (courtesy of Rene Russo). First, he cleans up a mess of clothes that had been driving her insane. He still likes her, and he understands the mistake.
If you’re looking for meaning, or complication, stay away from The Intern. Filmed in Chile, Green Inferno, which made its world premiere two years ago at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, follows a group of college students who travel to the Amazon jungle, only to be taken prisoner by the indigenous tribe they have come to save. There are four of these here, and they all involve Ben. Everything De Niro does here is ideal – even when, in the movie’s dumbest scene, he commandeers a home break-in with the younger employees for Jules-related reasons that are so Nancy Meyers. Delicious food and drink abound, everyone owns an Apple gadget and lives in a designer abode, and epiphanies occur every 10 minutes or so, accompanied by a triumphal soundtrack swell. De Niro, in particular, again sheds his tough-guy veneer and is convincing as a wise, dapper grandfather from Brooklyn who was never really ready to retire. The weather on his face can be impervious to meteorology. The actress, of course, gets a lot of flak for seeming too thirsty-for appearing to care too much about acting. Meyers has wit and a solid sense of craft, but mainly she makes movies about high thread counts and comfy, pricey throw pillows. She’s sufficiently self-critical at work to believe that she could benefit from the corporate equivalent of adult supervision; and she’s sufficiently self-critical at home to think that relief from the pressure of a demanding job might improve her marriage.
If only real life were like a Nancy Meyers movie. And although there’s a lot of sentimental sap in their conversations about life, you won’t forget that The Intern is a comedy since there are tons of hilarious scenes. That’s what makes The Intern so enjoyable, the main characters tend to stray from predictable archetypes.
This time, the stress seems to stem from Jules’s relative youth. It’s Nancy’s Narnia, and as much a fantasy as she wants it to be. Jules could be Hathaway’s magazine assistant from The Devil Wears Prada, but with no overbearing mentor to call. He even brings Jules chicken soup. Meanwhile, Linda Lavin is on hand, as someone Ben once dated, to be aggressive and bitter toward him.
So while there have been “pretty damning statistics” relating to the pay disparity between men and women, “I’d be shocked if we didn’t see a tremendous amount of change in the next 10 to 15 years”, she states.
Meyers: There’s an initial reaction of ‘Seriously? I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. What if she dies alone? Her consuming attention to detail, in both her characters and their gorgeously sculpted world, is inspiring if admittedly unrealistic. She’s a very far cry from the Zuckerberg of The Social Network.
Different movies stoke different, raging class issues in different people. Design blogs love your sets and post screen shots of them.