“The Intern”: a comedy about a 70-year-old retiree who seeks “real life” in a fashion firm

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Name: The Intern
Director, writer:  Nancy Meyers
Released:  2015
Format:  1.85:1
When and how viewed:  Netflix DVD
Length 121
Rating PG-13
Companies: Warner Brothers, Dune-Ratpac
Link: official site


The Intern”, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, opens with 70-year-old Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) appraising himself in a ritzy New York apartment and explaining what it feels like to live as a retired widower, having already seen the world and finished his bucket list.  He keeps his suits and ties in immaculate order, as well as his NYC coop (in contrast to me).  He needs something to do, involving real people.

He finds an e-commerce fashion firm in Brooklyn, “About the Fit” (a little snazzier than the real life “Bindle and Keep”, July 29), which has an “outreach” to senior citizens by letting them “intern”.

He goes through the interviews and demonstrates his “people skills”, especially when the youngest manager, Justin (Nat Woff) asks him what he wants to be doing in ten years and then apologetically withdraws the cookie-cutter question. Other young managers include Jason (Adam Devine, the “Man-o-Lantern 2”).

But most of the film revolves around his working with CDO Jules Olsen (Anne Hathaway). He own husband (Anders Holm) had become a stay-at-home dad to give her time to grow the film, but her personal life is creating enough noise that Wall Street wants her to step down from the startup.  She’s inclined to do so to save her marriage.  In the meantime, Whittake has developed a romance with massage therapist Fiona (Rene Russo).  In one sequence, he participates in a fake home breakin to save Jules from an embarrassing email on her own computer (remind you of Hillary Clinton’s server scandal?)

The film is stronger as it starts than as it follows through its 121 minutes.  There’s a real question of whether you need to join with other people in a bureaucratic environment to accomplish things.  There are real issues of keeping up appearances.

The film should be viewed in light of Ross Perlin’s 2011 book “Intern Nation”.

(Published: Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, at 3:15 PM EDT)

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”: they need to be careful about “What Women Want”

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Name: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Director, writer:  Jake Szymanski
Released:  2016/7
Format:  2.35:1
When and how viewed:  Angelika Mosaic, 2016/7/27, fair audience
Length 100
Rating R
Companies: 20th Century Fox (when will Fox convert the trademark to “21st Century?”)
Link: official site

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” (Jake Szymanski) is indeed silly, and must have been tedious to write (Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien).

The plot is that the two “bro’s” played by Zac Efron and Adam Devine, are so reckless that their father wants them to find specific dates for a big wedding of the sister in Hawaii.

So, they advertise on Craigslist (low tech). They get responses written on their Facebook timelines.  They get transgender people and regular gay men among the respondents, until real women show up in what looks like an “I Hate Speed-dating” scenario (that’s the name of another script I have seen).

But the real curiosity about this film is the male leads. Zachary David Alexander Efron is, at 28, at his physical summer solstice. He’s solid, well bulked up, with the “right amount” of chest hair.  Efron, remember, played the teen “Troy Bolton” in all of Disney’s “High School Musical” and even Cameron Bale in WB’s TV series “Summerland” about how a single woman raises her sister’s kids on the west coast after a family auto accident in the Midwest. Efron was an AP student in high school while doing these early acting gigs.  He was the sort of person you wanted to have in class when you (or I) worked as a substitute teacher.

But Adam Devine is something else.  He looks a little puffy.  Despite the trailers (and the pics which duplicate Zac with his chest painted in water colors) Adam never goes shirtless, even in a scene of simulated intercourse.  Is that because he’s recovering from a silly ad for AllState where he becomes a “man-o-lantern”, like Steve Carell had in “The Forty Year-Old Virgin” (2005, Universal)  (an implicit nod to David Skinner’s 1999 essay in the “conservative” Weekly Standard, “Notes on the Hairless Man“, with all the speculation about  men and family, like “we cannot erase general notions of manliness from popular culture and expect today’s boys to become tomorrow’s protectors and providers”). Or is this about “What Women Want” (2000, Paramount), with Mel Gibson, featuring depilatory strips to accelerate going bald in the legs.

Needless to say, the Hawaii scenery is lush, most of all in the aerialized buggy scenes.

Wikipedia attribution link for 3-D map of Oahu under CCSA 3.0 by Marin Adamiker.

(Published: Thursday, July 28, 2016, at 1 PM EDT)