There’s a gentle sense of maturity in every Nancy Meyers-written and directed movie. She tells stories born of experience and in the process proves “experience never gets old.” Here, that’s not just the tagline, it’s also what the talent – before and behind the camera – demonstrates: if you’re able to bring real understanding to the job, you don’t need sex, vulgarity, nudity or violence to tell an entertaining story. The main roles are underwritten, but convincingly-played. The situations are somewhat cliched, but well-paced. And while the monologues are not exactly profound, they also never become preachy. Nothing goes very deep, but it’s all smart, sophisticated and sparkling. And sometimes you just need a movie like that.
The story is this: Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is a retiree looking to fill up his days; Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) is a successful entrepreneur struggling to manage an on-line company that has grown exponentially while her home life also spirals out of control. He becomes her “senior intern,” and slowly, carefully — but not surprisingly — Ben brings a sense of calm and control to both her professional and her personal life. Along the way, there are observations about suits and ties, tucked-in shirts, and the value of carrying a handkerchief. And instructions on how to join facebook. De Niro and Hathaway bring chemistry, charm, and a sense of easy comfort to their roles. Their best moments together are long conversations – his about the factory he remembers and the business experience he has, hers about the worry of being buried alone. And, whatever your age and experience, those moments – and others — will tug at your heart and bring a smile to your lips. The movie does wander a bit and feels repetitive, but Meyers keeps everything polite, polished, and pleasant. Hers is a cotton-candy world and while the story is as thin – and sometimes as sweet — as spun sugar, she delivers it all with a great sense of style – and the end result is a lot of enjoyable fun.