Take a Drink: every time you just want to hug Robert De Niro
Take a Drink: for every hipster beard
Take a Drink: at every mention of “phone book”
Take a Drink: every time someone says “literally”
Take a Drink: whenever Jules falls asleep
Take a Drink: for every MacBook
Take a Drink: old people, they don’t get technology lol amiright? (thankfully, this is kept to a minimum)
Do a Shot: every time the kid is adorable/annoying (depending on your opinion, two shots if you can’t decide which)
Reward Yourself With a Shot: if you catch The Devil Wears Prada nod (hint: it involves a coat)
By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –
Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is a 70 year-old widower living in Brooklyn. Retired from his longtime job as manager of a phone book company (OLD SCHOOL!), he fills up his days by hanging out at Starbucks and taking tai chi classes, but still longs for something more.
“But not more Fockers movies!”
Opportunity presents itself when he spots a flyer looking for “senior interns,” – senior as in citizens, not college – for an uber-popular fashion e-commerce start-up called About the Fit.
He lands the gig and soon learns a lot has changed since he’s been part of the workforce. Those young hipstersnappers and their gadgets! No one wears suits to work anymore! Still, Ben is determined to adapt and prove that he has something to offer, while wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.
He is assigned to work with thirty-something founder Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Like Ben, she is a real go-getter, having started the company from her kitchen table and growing it into a successful multi-million dollar business in less than two years. She’s extremely hands-on and involved with every aspect, right down to stopping by the shipping center to teach the workers how to properly fold the tissue paper while packing orders. Every moment of her time is booked so solid that she rides a bicycle through the office.
In one scene anyway.
The company is almost too successful – growing so fast that investors are concerned about Jules’ ability to keep up with handling everything and propose hiring a seasoned CEO to ensure the company continues to run smoothly. Though the proposal is upsetting to Jules as she feels this move would take away her control and possibly even her company, she reluctantly agrees to meet with candidates.
She’s also not so jazzed about her new intern. With so much to do and worry about, it just seems like yet another thing to add to the list. But Ben is armed with a sincere demeanor and can-do attitude that becomes hard for her to ignore.
Will Ben teach Jules valuable lessons that she can use in her professional and personal lives? Will he win over his young co-workers? And the most important question…
No, not that one.
Will everything work out in the end with tears and happy music?
Nancy Meyers is one of those writer/directors who people either love or hate. You pretty much know what to expect going into one of her films. Rich, successful people living in beautiful homes, working in beautiful offices, and dealing with first world problems is her thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Write what you know and all that stuff. It’s proven to be a successful formula for her, and her films cater to an often overlooked market of Baby Boomers (Meyers also wrote Baby Boom). While leaving my screening, I overheard a woman around my mother’s age remark “You don’t see many movies like this anymore.” And she’s right, we don’t.
De Niro and Hathaway are an unlikely duo, but together they have a warm and genuine chemistry and play off each other naturally. Their scenes together are the best part of the film. It isn’t a zany battle of generations, it’s two individuals forming a friendship based on mutual respect and admiration.
Both Oscar winners are superb, fully inhabiting their characters, and are nothing less than charming. It’s refreshing that neither are the clichés one would expect. De Niro’s Ben is no grumpy old man (or sarcastic former CIA officer) who can’t work an iPhone; he’s kind, intelligent, and it’s easy to see why he wins everyone over. To some (not me, I like her, especially after she did this) Anne Hathaway playing a type-A micromanager may sound like a first class ticket to insufferable city; however she’s anything but, and delivers a heartfelt and compelling performance.
There are some amusing moments, including a couple sight gags and a strange, out of place, but still very funny, heist movie-inspired adventure featuring Ben and his much younger co-workers.
Aside from the CEO plotline and a late development which I will not spoil, the film is pretty much conflict-free. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing- there doesn’t always need to be some bad guy wringing his or her hands in the background- but the 121 minutes meander a bit here and there. Fortunately Hathaway and De Niro are fun to watch and everything looks very pretty.
Robert De Niro’s character is all-knowing, optimistic, and practically perfect in every way. He is the Magical Old Person. All you want to do is hug him (to his talent’s credit, when’s the last time you could say that about De Niro?)
Meyers’ The Holiday (which admittedly is one of my favorite lazy day couch movies) contained a similar dynamic between the characters played by Kate Winslet and the late Eli Wallach, but in that film, the two learned from and helped each other. It’s all mostly one-sided here with Ben taking on the role of Jules’ guardian angel, unless you count her helping him set up a Facebook account.
Though he does hook up with Rene Russo, so he’s got that going for him.
This is a nice movie. A nice movie to take your mom to. A nice movie to have on the TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s a charming, sweet – yes, sometimes schmaltzy (though not as much as you’d expect) – little slice-of-life flick about people. And that’s just fine. We don’t see many movies like this anymore.