Just About the Fit
The Intern is constantly on the verge of being fired for inappropriateness but is kept on board thanks to a bit of humour and an underlying good sentiment.
What I mean by this is that the film is heavy handed with its themes of sexism and ageism and the main culprit is the script. Jules (Anne Hathaway) constantly reminds us that she is a woman in business. She is a woman in a position of power. She is a woman who has had to be successful on her own initiative. She’s looked down on by other powerful men. She’s a woman who won’t shut the fuck up about it.
Now before the feminists start getting offended I’ve nothing against the message it’s just the way it’s portrayed and it’s the same with the way they handle ageism. Oh, you’re old you mustn’t have heard that because you are deaf. Can you see because you are probably blind. Did I mention that you are deaf? You are probably fucking deaf.
Thankfully these moments where the film steam rolls it’s way through the its most important themes are few and far between the much of the script is quite good. A lot of the dialogue feels very natural and helps build the oh so important relationships between the main characters.
Ben (De Niro) is simply looking to fill some time since his wife passed away so he applies for an Intern for the elderly programme. The theory behind the programme is that it is good to have elders in the workplace and actually they can prove invaluable, which is especially true in Ben’s case as he has years of sales and management experience and is still as sharp as a knife.
Really though, he’s just an observer, a man looking from the outside in. He doesn’t need to make an impression after all he’s deaf and blind right!? No, but seriously, it’s not like he’s looking for a promotion so he can take everything in and apply his years of experience so when the time comes he casually does a better job than most people half his age.
This ability to take a holistic view of Jules’ pride and joy – About The Fit – is what warms her to Ben. Jules spends almost every waking moment keeping her company running. She loves it but it is often to the detriment of those around her. In Ben she finds someone who is understanding and supportive but more importantly someone who she can relate to as he too is often overlooked as someone who can be a professional, a mentor, a leader.
In this bond is where you can find a layer of good sentiment that offsets some of the script’s heavy handedness. If it wasn’t for Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro this film would have likely been a bit of a disaster but the two have a really good chemistry which really help solidify those subtle moments where they are alone and fragile.
I mentioned earlier that the film is helped out by some good humour and this comes mainly at the expense of men everywhere as the film constantly, and probably quite rightly, pokes fun at our idiosyncrasies. This is all realised through Jason (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zack Pearlman) who take up the all too predictable goofy slapstick other interns.
Actually, a lot of the humour comes from Ben’s reaction to situations. I shouldn’t have been surprised given De Niro’s history with comedy but I guess I can only ever see him in the role of a gangster or a miscreant.
At times the film is charming and witty yet at other times it’s grindingly obvious and as subtle as an American abroad. The absolute highlight is De Niro who plays Ben, he’s such a lovable character that you’ll leave wishing that he was your granddad or friend or boss or your intern.
- De Niro as a loveable old man
- Anne Hathaway
- The three (intern) stooges
- Obvious plot points
- Heavy handed dealing with sexism
- Heavy handed dealing with ageism