Internal Baggage

Do you like to travel light? If the answer is yes, then may I suggest avoiding a holiday with Nancy Meyers. It might just be the thing that pushes you over the edge.

For someone who has actually seen quite a few Nancy Meyers films, it was amazing that I had not connected the dots, especially since the last couple I watched had her name very clearly all over the opening frames of the movie. It was only after I had watched The Intern, her latest release, and then a couple of days later found myself in the sort of mood to watch Something’s Gotta Give, that I spotted both the credits and the DNA that ran though both, then looked her up on the internet to see what else she had been up to.

I like the fact that she is a very successful writer and director and producer. There are not enough females doing that in mainstream cinema, but my god she likes to cram a movie. No lean dialogue and clear line between the characters and the horizon in a Meyers’ film, no siree. If that is what you came for, move on – nothing to see here.

Actually there will be plenty to see here because her recent philospohy seems to be why tell one story when you can cram in four? And why stick to the main plot when you can throw in a couple of kooky side capers while you are at it? Well why not? Let’s throw all the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, because something’s bound to and we are going for comedy here, so let’s make ’em laugh at something.

I watched The Intern recently on DVD just after I had finished a long, stressful event and needed something ‘easy’ to watch. As I was tired I ended up crying pretty much all the way through it and it was not a bad movie, but Meyer’s busy signature paw prints are all over it.

A retired divorcee seeks to re-engage with life by applying for a position with a very successful start-up company that is exploding in size. But wait! There is a catch! The retiree is an older man (de Niro) and the young business owner/manager is a young woman – Anne Hathaway. Wow! A twist, whaddaya know? But wait! There’s more! She is kinda kooky as well as brilliant – she rides a bike around the office to get exercise while she works – and has a young child. How can she continue to cope with all this and an expanding business? – Could it be the older man’s life skills and their developing relationship and mutual respect might help? There could be friction on the way…But wait! There’s more! Her talented and good looking husband is stuck at home looking after the kid – that is not going to work, is it? Even though he says it’s OK? Plus there are a bunch of other interns who all have probelms to solve. Could it be that de Niro can help with them too? Sure! There is plenty of room in the plot, bring them on in! But wait! Hathway has a demanding mother and a deadline to make a huge life decision. What will happen? Don’t worry! Throw them in the case and we can deal with them too – we may just get a completely non-sensical side story with involving a getaway car while we are at it.

I am not saying I did not like it, despite the stock characters and situations. Despite the fact it was a bit obvious, there is always the feeling that Meyers is trying to add an extra layer – the blossoming father-daughter relationship betweeen the leads (oh … who is the real intern here?)  instead of the rumpy pumpy will-they-won’t-they one, was fun to watch, even though de Niro’s character did seem to be suspiciously good at everything, from cake baking to spotting closet alcoholics – yes that too! And Hathway was a bit too flaky for someone who had done so well – what? was that success an accident? But it was not supposed to be a post-modern feminist treatment of gender roles in the workplace, it was supposed to be a laugh and so that did not matter too much.

It was a good movie to watch, some nice perfomances to enjoy and the occasional laugh to be had. But Boy, there was a lot of plot.



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