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Film / The Intern

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A 2015 comedy/drama film starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, directed by Nancy Meyers. Ben Whitaker (De Niro) is a Cool Old Guy who is widowed and bored with retirement, so he answers an ad for a "senior intern" at a booming startup online company created and run by Jules Ostin (Hathaway).

The film explores the clash of technology and modern culture with old school moxie.

Features supporting roles from Andrew Rannells, Adam Devine, Rene Russo and Anders Holm.

The Intern contains examples of:

  • 555: When Jules gives her number to a customer she states it to be 718-555-0199.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Had it not been for a single use of the F word, and the masseuse sequence, this film could've easily gotten by with a PG rating.
  • Betty and Veronica: Downplayed but Ben's first love interest is a Betty type who he's not interested in. Fiona, who he does hit it off with, is a Veronica — being a sultry massage therapist.
  • Big Applesauce: The film is set in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Blithe Spirit: A retired manager is introduced to a start-up company. He teaches his co-workers how to dress elegantly. More importantly, he teaches his boss how to balance her career and her private life.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with Ben participating in a Tai Chi group.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Early on Ben is warned about how Jules doesn't like people who don't blink. A while later when Julies interviews a potential CEO, she turns him down partly because he didn't blink at all during the meeting.
    • One of the first scenes has Ben trying to avoid having dinner with another woman. When he takes Fiona to the funeral, the same woman is there and looks annoyed.
  • Career Versus Family: A variation. Part of Jules' angst is about hiring a CEO so she'd have less work to do and therefore more time for her family. It moves into deconstruction territory where Jules is told by other characters that if she has problems at home, less work won't automatically solve them, and she is vital to the running of her own company.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Almost halfway through the movie, Ben reveals to Jules that her company just happens to be located in the same building where he previously worked. There's not even a hint of this up until that point, and it never gets mentioned again.
    • It is very briefly forshadowed at the start of the film. When first seeing a flyer asking for interns, Ben observes the address and off-handedly says "Isn't that the one on-" before being cut off. Clearly Ben knew the address and that was why he wanted the internship: he knew full well it was his old place of work.
  • Covert Pervert: Fiona seems to delight in giving Ben an impromptu massage that results in a Raging Stiffie.
  • December–December Romance: Ben (whose wife recently passed away) hooks up with Fiona, a masseuse at the same company he now works at who's almost his own senior age. They even go to a funeral of one of Ben's friends for a date.
  • Disposable Intern: Averted, while he is first seen as a relic, he quickly distinguishes himself and becomes invaluable to the organization.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: In a hilariously terrifying moment for Jules.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The woman that temporarily replaces Ben as Jules' driver after her request for his transfer is met.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: When Jules goes to San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is showed.
  • Elder Employee: A retired manager is hired as an intern in a startup company.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: The sultry and fun-loving masseuse Fiona is a blonde.
  • Generation Xerox: When driving Paige to a birthday party, she gives him false directions just like Jules did at the start. Ben lampshades this, saying she's "like a clone".
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Matt's having an affair and, while not treated as justified, he's shown sympathetically and ultimately calls it off.
  • Gossipy Hens: A few mothers at Paige's school, who appear to disapprove of Jules for being a working mother.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: While not as sharp and elegant, David does look much more professional after he starts taking fashion advice from Ben.
  • Heist Episode: The effort to delete a misdirected email. The scene is a parody of the caper genre. There is even a Shout-Out to Ocean's Eleven.
  • High-Powered Career Woman: Downplayed with Jules. As a startup founder with runaway success, while she can be demanding, preoccupied, and is passionate about her business, Jules is also scattered and encourages a casual workplace, constantly running 1-2 hours behind. Ben encourages her to relax a bit and be more open with her employees, but due to Cameron encouraging her to hire an outside (notably male) CEO to take over, she struggles with the Career Versus Family question of giving up control of her business in order to spend more time with them.
  • House Husband: Matt. But Ben is informed that stay-at-home dad is the more appropriate term.
  • Informed Flaw: Everyone, including Jules, says that she's very difficult to work for. Most viewers who have had a difficult boss will have a hard time agreeing with this assessment. The only exception is Jules' personal assistant who is overworked and undervalued, made to run after Jules' bike as she rides around the building and unacknowledged for her skill in business. Aside from her odd habit of not liking people who don't blink, and her tendency to operate on "Jules Standard Time"note , she's pretty much a Benevolent Boss. In fact, the climax of the film tells us that no one else could run the company as well as Jules.
  • The Intern: Ben and the other interns have no experience and they are not treated well by their company. In the beginning, Ben has nothing to do and Jules, his supervisor, barely agrees to meet him. Finally Subverted for Ben, because he becomes a key person in the company.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ben and pretty much everyone, with Jules being the most prominent.
  • Irrevocable Message: An email to her mother is why Jules sends Ben and the boys on the caper.
  • The Lost Lenore: Downplayed but Ben's wife Molly is this. There's one sombre scene where Jules asks about how long he was married; he responds "not long enough".
  • Man Hug: Davis dishes them out considerably when Ben lets him stay at his place.
  • Married to the Job: Jules' assistant Becky, who is said to start work at 7 am and not get home until 11 pm. Jules herself is a subversion, as she still tries to make time for her husband and daughter. While she's not always there, the daughter seems to understand the arrangement and be happy with it.
  • Maybe Ever After: Matt and Jules agree to try and work things out at the end, but it's unknown if they can since Jules will still be spending a lot of time at the office.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone (including Jules on the phone) when her mother's burglar alarm begins sounding off, after Jules had assured them that it must be a fake alarm to scare off burglars.
  • Monochrome Casting: In a movie set in such a diverse place as New York City, there is an almost total lack of non-white characters within the company and Jules' social circle.
  • Mouthing the Profanity: In an early scene Ben Whitaker is trying to avoid the advances of a woman from his neighborhood. He later shows up to a funeral with another date he met at his new job, and the other woman can be seen mouthing "F-U" at him.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Ben fills a lot of the roles that a love interest for Jules would fill — but she's married and he's significantly older than her so there's no hint of romantic tension.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Someone walks in on Ben getting a foot massage but it looks as if he's getting oral sex.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jules upon realizing that her email where she calls her mother a "f*king bitch" wasn't sent to Matt...
  • Old-School Chivalry: Ben sets the example for the 20-something males.
  • Precision F-Strike: As the guys try and fail to get Jason's attention to open the car doors as they're pulling off the caper, Davis finally jumps onto the hood and shouts, "OPEN THE FUCKING DOORS!"
  • Raging Stiffie: Ben gets one when Fiona first massages him.
  • Running Gag: Ben carrying around a handkerchief just in case a crying woman needs to use it.
  • The Reveal: The phone book company that Ben worked for for over 20 years was located in the same factory building now occupied by Jules' company.
  • Second Love: Fiona for Ben. His wife has been dead for three years and she's the first woman he's dated since then.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Ben insists that true gentlemen dress this way, and his closet is full of tasteful suits. David starts following Ben's example after rooming with him, wearing dress shirts and ties to work instead of his T-shirts and hoodies.
  • Shout-Out: When Ben and his colleagues are going to break into the house of Jules's mother, one of them compares them with the characters of Ocean's Eleven.
  • Silver Fox: Jules and Fiona describe Ben as such.
  • Slice of Life: There's not exactly a plot and the movie's main focus is on Ben working in the office, and his growing friendship with Jules.
  • Stock Quotes: When Ben talks with Fiona for the first time, he describes the start-up company where he works as such: "It's a brave new world. Thought I'd jump in, see what it's all about."
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: It's implied that Jules is looking for a CEO partially to please Matt. She learns An Aesop about not sacrificing her company to please him, and right before she calls her new CEO to tell him the deal is off, Matt shows up and tells her that he agrees.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Becky the assistant is the Child — prone to stressing out and overreactions. Jules is the Wife — confident and together. Fiona is the Seductress — sultry and sexy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ben sees Jules' driver Mike taking a drink on the job. Under pressure from Ben, he asks for the rest of that day off. Ben fills in for him... and the guy is never seen again.