The latest movie from the director of Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated has nothing to give and is most uncomplicated.

The novelty factor of the premise of Nancy Meyers’s The Intern (baby boomer gives life lessons to Brooklyn hipster) and the casting (Robert De Niro shares screen space with Anne Hathaway) wears off within the first hour. The rest of the running time is spent on padding up the potentially interesting but severely underdeveloped encounter between generations.

Hathaway is Jules, the harried founder of a successful e-commerce fashion site who staves off external pressure to hire a new boss for her company with the help of her 70-year-old intern Ben (De Niro). Despite his advanced age, Ben is the kind of smart, efficient and fit employee that a so-called disruptive business can do with – just one of the many lessons in avoiding risks and sticking with the known that are advanced by The Intern.

Ben clears up the clutter and smooths out the creases, getting massages in welcome places from the office masseuse Fiona (Rene Russo) as his reward. When there are tensions between Jules and her stay-at-home husband Matt (Anders Holm), who has presumably built up his wide chest by lifting their daughter off swings, Ben steps in again to play counsellor.

The Intern is drowned in the treacliness that is a staple of Myers’s films but the sharp insights she usually brings to gender wars and relationship anxiety are missing. Perhaps eager to avoid the female-boss-as-monster stereotype, Meyers has written Jules as the sweetest and awesomest person on the planet. Ben, meanwhile, is so perfect and proper that it’s a miracle that Jules doesn’t leave her dull husband and choose Ben’s craggy-faced smile, fastidiousness and old-fashioned chivalry instead. In a more radical movie or a European production, Jules just might have, and the opportunity presents itself in a strange sequence in which she invites Ben to her bedroom during a decisive trip that will decide the company’s future. Jules makes a move … to empty out the minibar.

The breezy treatment requires Hathaway, who played the tortured assistant of Meryl Streep’s formidable boss in The Devil Wears Prada, to do little more than flash her pearlies. De Niro phones it in, as might be required of a 70-year-old intern who wants to pass the time rather than prove a point.