Putting together some Academy award-winning stars in a comedy situation is definitely not new or unique, it’s also not an idea that works every time. This time around those Oscar winners are Anne Hathaway and big hitter and legend Robert De Niro, Hathaway is Jules Ostin the creator of an online fashion website/retailer who (as per usual in a film such as this with any professional women) is struggling to have it all, kid/husband/career/success/happiness/sanity? Whereas De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, the widower/retiree who just can’t seem to fill his days no matter how much he does, until he stumbles upon an ad for senior-citizen interns, and so it begins. A story of an unusual situation through which blossoms an usual friendship.
Neither of these actors are strangers to comedy, they may do a fantastic job with serious meaty roles but they can also bring the laughs and deliver one-liners like the pro’s that they are. This isn’t a laugh a minute comedy, or a sickly sweet story, it is charming and clever and current, it is both comedy and heartwarming at the same time which is very rarely pulled off. De Niro’s Ben is relentlessly helpful, an old-fashioned gentleman that everyone is sure to love, especially watching him figure out how to use Facebook, rather than kill or threaten anyone which is an entertaining contrast. Whereas Hathaway’s Jules is hinting back to the days of Prada and Princesses, her comedy roots are undeniable despite her winning an Oscar for one of the most serious roles for women created, she’s gone from Princess Diaries to Ella Enchanted to Get Smart to Bride Wars to Love & Other Drugs to One Day, Hathaway can do comedy no question. Playing Jules is just another example to that fact, smart, sarcastic and bright whose character like Ben will appeal to audiences. As well as her daughter Paige played by first time actress JoJo Kushner who is utterly adorable while completely arrogant in the way you can only love in a child.
The whole cast creates a great team in this film which is exactly the type of atmosphere it creates, starting with Adam DeVine (Pitch Perfect, Workaholics) as the clueless 21st century man who knows nothing about women but is willing to learn when Ben comes along. Christina Scherer as the over-worked and deathly stressed assistant who is ready to burst at any moment, also known as Becky who just wants to do a good job, fairly unknown of an actress after this film it would definitely be great to see her in other things. Andrew Rannells of acclaimed (but in my opinion widely overrated) series Girls, as the sensible one who is entertaining but I have nothing to scream about with this one. Zack Pearlman and Jason Orley as the nerd backup to DeVine do a fantastic job. Rene Russo is even great as the over friendly in-house masseuse and love interest. The only person who creates a problem with my statement of this being a great team cast is Anders Holm (Mindy Project, Workaholics) his acting is like something from an advert, it’s overly cheesy and slightly fake, his character is almost irritating which is a shame as he’s the only weak link.
Nancy Meyers knows how to work with big stars; Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Kate Winslet, Alec Baldwin; she has yet to direct a film that doesn’t involve some very famous faces. Her films are dependable and a comforting friend, they are not the risk taker with phenomenal results, but there’s not much call for risk taking versions of films like this, I’m not even sure what that would look like. They are predictable and yet you still want to see what will happen, really it’s a film I find hard to describe because it’s enjoyable and it’s great to watch and yet it’s not an instant one to rave about. It’s an utterly like-able film with a great cast and a great story, but one that if you don’t see it you haven’t actually missed out on an awful lot.