DIRECTOR: Nisha Ganatra (cake)
starring: emma thompson, mindy kaling, reid scott, and john lithgow
REVIEWER: emily carter
A late-night talk show host suspects that she may soon be losing her long-running show.
Why does it feel like it's been a long time between drinks when it comes to easy-watch comedies? The kind that don't rely on slapstick and nasty jokes? Well, perhaps it's because it has been. Late Night is that refreshing splash in the face I think we've missed - praise be, the dry patch is over!
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is a long-time legend among late night talk show hosts facing low ratings and a network that's threatening some big changes. She jumps into action looking to revamp her all-male writing team with a "diversity hire". Enter Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), an Indian woman with zero TV experience committed to shaking things up. But can the formidable Katherine Newbury handle a newbie disrupting the process? And is Molly up for proving herself beyond being some extra that ticks a box?
Late Night is packed with punch, whether on the comedy front, or with the very idea of a "diversity hire". While comfortably bringing up the ideas of gender, age, culture and privilege, it overall felt like it was natural, rather than a token tip of the hat. Kaling (of The Mindy Project and The Office US fame) stars as Molly and is also behind the film's screenplay. The film's writing poked fun at Katherine Newbury's and Molly's generational and cultural differences that had the cinema's audience laughing. Along with the humor, there were also some enlightening revelations made by Newbury's character - listen in on those show monologues!
But it must be said the were a few parts that felt wholly uncomfortable in Late Night. For a film centered around diversity, particularly women in this particular workplace, there were some spots of story that felt like a little letdown at best and potentially patronizing at worst.
A fun film with a top cast, Late Night packed some modern comedy punch, but tripped up a little along the way.