Can this re­ally be Robert De Niro talkin’?

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - FILM BRIGIT GRANT


‘YOU TALKIN’ to me?”. “You talkin’ to me?” Though these un­for­get­table words were im­pro­vised by Robert De Niro when he played Martin Scors­ese’s an­gry Taxi Driver, I longed for him to steal or at least pla­gia­rise them for Ben Whi­taker, the aged in­tern he por­trays in Nancy Mey­ers’ new film.

When you think of De Niro he is a god­fa­ther, a deer hunter, a boxer and a good­fella, but a re­tired ex­ec­u­tive wi­d­ower work­ing as a per­sonal as­sis­tant to an up-and-com­ing fash­ion dot­com­mer? Not so much.

Not that De Niro can’t do rom-com, but when he does he is bet­ter play­ing the tough guy who meets the Fock­ers and not the bal­anced se­nior from a by­gone age who has to play dad to all the beardy guys who work in the hip start-up firm of Jules Ostin (Anne Hath­away) .

Nancy Mey­ers has made some great films that I have adored, Baby Boom, Fa­ther of The Bride and Some­thing’s Gotta Give be­ing three, but the ba­sic premise of this one is flawed as I have yet to hear of a trendy hi-tech com­pany hir­ing re­tirees as in­terns, re­gard­less of their ex­per­tise. They are usu­ally the first to go.

De­spite the im­plau­si­ble no­tion, Ben gets the job and though he is ini­tially re­garded as be­ing out of touch, soon wins Jules over with his ded­i­ca­tion and ver­sa­til­ity. Jules mean­while is strug­gling to bal­ance work and home and soon has Ben chauf­feur­ing her as her driver is a drunk, and mind­ing her daugh­ter dur­ing which time he no­tices that her hus­band (a non-part for An­ders Holm) is hav­ing an af­fair. Rene Russo — who I have never liked — turns up as the com­pany masseuse and be­comes Ben’s love in­ter­est and Hath­away — who I like a lot —is re­li­ably happy and tin­kling un­til she cries about her phi­lan­der­ing hus­band and work pres­sures. Pleas­ant just about cov­ers it, which is not some­thing I ever re­mem­ber say­ing about a Robert De Niro film.

Pleas­ant: Robert de Niro and Anne Hath­away in

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