De Niro shines in ‘The Intern’

article-2751949-2141EB1300000578-939_634x450Filmmaker Nancy Meyers has a real knack for writing about rich white folk.

The talent behind films such as “Father of the Bride,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “It’s Complicated” loves to engage audiences with stories involving privileged white people whose conflicts many of us would scoff at given their laps of luxury. Her films are the cinematic equivalent of the hashtag #firstworldproblems.

Normally I’d roll my eyes at such portrayals of American life, but I have to admit I’m a fan of her work. She just has a way of making me care about characters with nary a financial worry, because despite all of their fancy cars and luxury homes, she portrays them as just regular people with regular problems.

The same theme continues with “The Intern.” Anne Hathaway plays a young founder of a highly successful internet shopping site, who on the surface seems to have it all – a perfect family, a beautiful house in New York City and of course, money to spare. But when her company initiates an internship program for senior citizens and she’s reluctantly assigned with a 70-year-old retiree played by Robert De Niro, she realizes she’s not as happy as she appears to be.

Hathaway does a good job of playing a young go-getter who’s admired by her staff, but not necessarily liked. She has a natural air about her that doesn’t really attract you to her personality, and yet is likable enough. But the true star is De Niro. This is one of his better recent roles, and he really makes the most of the opportunity. The only flaw in his character is that he really doesn’t have any flaws. I loved his performance, but walked out of the film thinking he was too perfect.

“The Intern” has lots of laughs and may even make you shed a tear or two. All of the characters are written well, and you will fall in love with De Niro’s portrayal of senior citizen who just wants to contribute to society again. It’s a very sweet and fun film and can be a real crowd pleaser. There’s nothing particularly deep about any of the conflicts, but Meyers is a pro at keeping things light and entertaining.