Robert De Niro appeals as Anne Hathaway’s ‘Intern’

Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway star in “The Intern”

The idea of a movie that casts Robert De Niro as someone known as “The Intern” is amusing to begin with.

Add to that the fact that the 2015 film (which AMC shows Friday, Feb. 12) was written and directed by Nancy Meyers – who also has met the needs of such veteran talents as Meryl Streep (in “It’s Complicated”) and Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton (in “Something’s Gotta Give”) — and you know you’re not going to get something particularly hard-hitting.

Which is OK, since no one does this kind of middle-age or post-middle-age fantasy better than Meyers does. By casting Anne Hathaway as De Niro’s boss in “The Intern,” the filmmaker also services a younger demographic, just as she did in the entertaining “The Holiday” … and it’s a very pleasant blend.

The Hathaway character oversees a fashion-oriented website, and since it’s a new venture, the heat is very much on her. She resists getting too familiar with De Niro, who’s part of the firm’s senior internship program, but he eventually proves invaluable to her not only for his own background in the business world, but also for the sympathetic and reliable ear and shoulder he is.

Often echoing “Baby Boom,” on which Meyers also was a major creative factor, “The Intern” makes a lot of points about the differences between generations. If those seem a little heavy-handed at times, Meyers absolutely has hedged her bets by making an extremely agreeable team of De Niro and Hathaway. There’s no question the two Oscar-winners will “bring it,” and they appear to have a true joy in working together that transcends their roles and the plot.

Frankly, it’s the kind of magic you watch movies for … and it works so well, the film seems to lose some of it mojo any time the camera is off the two of them, though it’s nice to see Rene Russo as an intended love match for De Niro. There also are subplots involving Hathaway’s home life and De Niro’s exchanges with younger male co-workers, and while they’re meant to flesh out the story, De Niro and Hathaway together remains the main event here.

“The Intern” happily supplies a lot of that. It’s a nice addition to the resumes of both stars, and it lets Nancy Meyers keep her crown as the queen of the kind of movie she does so well.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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