If you are looking for a few comps for The Intern, begin by making a u-turn at Horrible Bosses. Drive right on by Nine to Five. When you get to The Devil Wears Prada, turn it inside out and find a parallel road, and you’d be in heading in the right direction. Lastly, forget Manhattan, and move the whole film to Brooklyn.
In the Devil Wears Prada, Anne Hathaway played the newbie (Andy Sachs) hired to be the personal assistant to the dictatorial doyenne of fashion Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep). Here, Hathaway plays Jules Ostin, the head of an internet start-up (About the Fit, a firm that sells clothing) that has exceeded beyond all hopes and expectations. Started by Ostin in her kitchen, within 18 months, the firm has now has 220 employees.
As part of an outreach program, About the Fit has agreed to participate in a program that hires seniors as interns. Enter Mr. Robert De Niro as Ben Whittaker, a very fit 70-year-old widower. Ben has been a successful corporate mid-level executive in the phone book industry, has lived and worked in Brooklyn his whole life, and at the moment he’s not in need of a job – rather he’d like to do something fulfilling. As he tells us – he’s tried everything from pottery to painting, from yoga to planting, and he’s even taken courses in cooking as well as to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese.
Now if he can just get past the first hurdle. About the Fit doesn’t want a cover letter and a resume. They want a cover video. Ben will have to call his grandson in San Diego to get an idea of what it means to upload a video. At first glance, you just know he will get the job.
Meanwhile, let’s cut back to Hathaway’s Jules Ostin. She’s not the boss from hell. Rather she’s a can-do, roll-up-your-sleeves and pitch in kind of boss. We watch in awe as she’s even down in the trenches of customer service manning the phones with aplomb, smarts, and most importantly – empathy.
She’s gorgeous, rides a bike in the office to get from department to department, is often late, has a husband, an adorable 3-year-old daughter, a beautiful brownstone home in Park Slope, and is heading up a company that has shown off-the-charts success.
While Ostin does her thing, Ben Whittaker is some how assigned to be her personal assistant. Though Ben says all the right things, has a winning attitude, and fits in almost immediately with the twenty and thirty somethings that populate the office, there’s an adjustment period between he and Ostin.
But, as you can not only see it coming, it all works out. He’s soon more than just the senior intern/personal assistant. He’s the mentor to Ostin’s mentee, he drives her to where she needs to be, he offers sage advice, he’s a majordomo, an aide-de-camp, and almost Ostin’s right hand.