Tag Archives: Adam Devine

Love & Work & Friendship

De Niro, Hathaway put mature ‘seasoning’ on workplace rom-com

THE INTERN

The Intern

Starring Robert De Niro & Anne Hathaway

Directed by Nancy Meyers

PG-13

“Love and work, work and love, that’s all there is,” says Ben (Robert De Niro), paraphrasing Sigmund Freud in the opening moments of The Intern.

Ben’s a 70-year-old retiree, adrift in Brooklyn after the death of his wife of 40-some years. He longs for purpose and connection that Mandarin Chinese lessons, tai chi in the park and morning treks to Starbucks can’t provide. When he sees an ad for a “Senior Intern Program” at a hip new e-commerce clothing company, he thinks it could be just the thing to bring his decades of experience, loyalty and passion for productivity back into play.

After a humorous round of interviews with the start-up company’s young “talent acquisition” team, Ben gets the job, assigned directly to the busy-bee founder and president, Jules (Anne Hathaway), a mile-a-minute micromanager who barely has time to even notice him.

How long will it take for the geriatric guru to go from invisible to indispensible?

THE INTERNWriter-director Nancy Meyers is best known for the frisky romantic comedies Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated and The Parent Trap. There’s both romance and comedy in The Intern—there’s no mistaking the soft, rounded edges of Meyers’ humor and the sunny storybook optimism of her feel-good style. But still, it’s not what you might think.

Ben doesn’t fall—at least romantically—for Jules. They both grow ever closer in their relationship, and even end up literally “in bed” together, but it’s all business, building a genuine friendship.

De Niro, a double Oscar winner, is well known for playing tough, so it’s always great fun to see him working whimsical. But shades of some of his former, heavier performances are always around, lurking—Ben has a “mirror” moment that might be seen a silent spoof of “You talkin’ to me?!” from Taxi Driver, and a comedic house break-in feels like it might morph into Goodfellas parody, if only there were a body in the trunk and a walk-on by Joe Pesci.

Hathaway, 32, another Oscar winner, plays Jules with sensitivity for her character’s strengths as well as her struggles—which include a frazzled home life with her husband (Anders Holm, from TV’s Workaholics) and their precocious young daughter (JoJo Kushner), and conflict about how her company has grown so much it may need to bring in a CEO, someone above her, to run things.

TIN-FP-0076

Ben (De Niro) bonds with the younger interns (Adam Devine, Zack Pearlman and Jason Orley).

Renee Russo plays a frisky “older” staff masseuse who rubs Ben the right way, and three younger interns (Jason Orley, Zach Pearlman and Adam DeVine, also from Workaholics, as well as the Pitch Perfect movies) form male bonds with their much older, more stylish, infinitely wiser coworker.

The Intern won’t win any awards. But for some hearty laughs and touching cross-generational life lessons from a couple of “old pros,” it’ll make for a decent date night, especially with audiences who often search in vain for movies of any kind—particularly comedies—seasoned for more “mature” tastes.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Second Verse

Tuneful reprise picks up a cappella tale, reunites cast

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect

Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson & Hailee Steinfield

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

PG-13

A musical comedy that costs under $20 million to make and racks up more than three times that much at the box office will likely get another chance to sing.

That’s exactly the case with Pitch Perfect 2, a tune-filled reprise of the its 2012 predecessor that picks up the tale of a fictional all-female collegiate a cappella group, the Bellas, and reunites almost of all of the original cast (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Skylar Austin, Adam Devine, Anna Camp, Ben Platt and Ester Dean).

Pitch Perfect 2

Das Sound Machine

This time, the Bellas are headed to a world championship sing-off against new rivals, an über-haughy German group called Das Sound Machine. But a major wardrobe oopsy during a performance attended by Present Obama and the First Lady has caused a serious kerfluffle, throwing off the Bellas’ musical mojo. And their senior member, Beca (Kendrick), is ready to move on to life beyond the group.

Forget—and forgive—that most of the actors and actresses (playing college coeds) are pushing 30, or just beyond it. Don’t worry that the plot is a shoestring of jokes and songs stretched 10 to 15 minutes longer than it really needed to be. Let slide the fact that Wilson’s roly-poly character, Fat Amy, would never be called that name by any group of good friends—unless it’s in a movie like this one.

Pitch Perfect 2

Hailee Steinfield

Pooh to all that, because Pitch Perfect 2 just wants to make you laugh—which it certainly does—in between silly cooing about the bonds of sisterhood and the awkwardness of young love. The jokes fly fast and flip, and the humor gets spread throughout the big cast, which includes Hailee Steinfield, who plays a fresh-faced Bella newcomer; Keegan-Michael Key, of the Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, as a cocky music producer; and rapper Snoop Dogg, who gets laughs just as himself, singing Christmas carols. (Also watch for Katey Segal; Comedy Bang Bang’s Reggie Watts, bandleader for The Late Late Show with James Cordon; and members of the Green Bay Packers, riffing on Beyoncé’s “Bootylicious.”) Of the returning cast, Wilson, in particular, steals every scene in which she appears, and the writers know it, giving her optimum setups, plum punch lines and plenty of room to improvise.

Pitch Perfect 2

John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks

Some of the funniest bits, however, belong to John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks, who play the commentators covering the various singing competitions at which the Bellas appear. Higgins’ character’s snarky, sexist, racist observations may be politically incorrect, but they strike comedy gold.

The real “star” of the show, however, is its director. Making her feature debut behind the camera, Elizabeth Banks joins a very exclusive club—alongside Angelina Jolie and Jodie Foster—of actresses who’ve moved successfully into an almost wholly male-dominated domain, taken control of a major motion picture and made all the pieces fit—and work—together. Bravo, Ms. Banks!

It’s not quite as fresh as the original, but Pitch Perfect 2 is still a bright, light, fem-centric frolic of music and goofy fun for anyone who likes their laughter with a peppy soundtrack of razzle-dazzle a ca-showmanship.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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