Dir: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Adam DeVine, Nat Wolff, Anders Holm, Rene Russo
Sensitivity to seniors and their needs just doesn’t come across in the narrative
Nancy Meyers, the largely successful comedy specialist (The Holiday, It’s Complicated) from mainstream Hollywood has always been partial to female characters in her films. So, it isn’t much of a surprise when she dares to cast seasoned Robert De Niro as Ben, a retired, widower turned senior intern looking to keep himself busy and learning, at a fast-growing start-up fashion portal run by a career-minded, much younger female boss, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).
This is not a May to September romance, so don’t go there. The idea of having a senior intern for a fast growing web portal with employees in the age bracket of 20-35 seems a little too farfetched. And it’s introduced like a lark from out of nowhere. Sensitivity to seniors and their needs might have been the start point for such a take-off, but it just doesn’t come across in the narrative. The idea, though, had a few possibilities, provided there was enough conflict and friction to go with it. Unfortunately, Meyers’ aim is merely to tweak it into amiability, so the writing and helming skirt around all the major hurdles and issues that could have cropped up and prefer to delve into individual attitudes at a superficial level.
So, we get to see an unlikely friendship on the cusp of stronger bonding (which is the mainstay of the film), with motivational shifts shoring up the emancipated woman on the go. The script appears to be promoting the idea of a working woman with a stay-at-home husband (Anders Holm) – a man who chooses to look after his little girl and home instead of pursuing his own career.
Of course, there are moments of self-doubt for him when he has an affair and then following the revelation, conveniently slips back to being the gem of a house-husband. Neatly packaged and insouciantly charming, this one prefers to keep it lightweight and amenable, veering away from all age-related complications. Tech credits are spiffy and performances are strait-jacketed to make it look convincing. De Niro, Hathaway and Rene Russo make it look worthy at least.