‘Late Night’ was directed by Nisha Ginatra and was written and Stars Mindy Kaling, as a newly hired writer for a late night show, “Tonight With Katherine Newbury” (played by Dame Emma Thomson). Newbury, after being told she is being replaced due to diminishing ratings realizes that her entire writing staff is comprised of only white males. Kaling, who plays Molly Patel, is hired mainly as a “diversity hire” no background in comedy. Molly quickly learns the way to be successful in her new position is to make herself useful, but will her new ideas on how to make the show a success be enough to save Newbury’s, and her own career? ‘Late Night’ is funny and charming, and the new go-to film for those rainy days where you just wanna stay indoors and have some laughs.
I’d first heard about ‘Late Night’ back in January during the Sundance Film Festival, but unfortunately due to Sundance being… well Sundance, didn’t get a chance to see it. I was delighted to hear all the good word of mouth and now having to see for myself, It did not disappoint. I was very quickly smitten by Mindy Kaling’s charming performance as Molly and loved the chemistry between herself and Emma Thomson’s character. The tone for this film is very much in the same vein as ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ but replace fashion with the cutthroat business of Late Night television. Some of the best parts were for sure the moments inside the writer’s room, where you learn how dissociated and often unintentionally cruel Emma Thompson’s character it, choosing numbers to identify her writing staff rather than learning their actual names. Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury perfectly, and her acting is on point.
The supporting cast also gets some time in the film, the head monologue writer, played by ‘Veep’ star Reid Scott, who gets a few good moments however the focus on this film is solely on both Kaling and Thompson’s performances. Where I found myself starting to hope for more was in the pg-13’ish nature of the jokes and writing. I was hoping for a bit more edge to the film after a great scene where Kaling exposes some of the issues of the show being due to always “playing it safe”, the film then tells one somewhat edgy joke, but from there really isn’t much to emphasize Kaling’s points. You don’t see a lot of the actual Late Night show develop and evolve into what it is described to be at the end, where I had hoped for a little more scenes to expand on this.
Additionally, the third act for me seemed to take a while to meticulously wrap up every subplot of the film while I don’t really think it was necessary. Some things that were explained could’ve been left more ambiguous for the viewer to mull over after watching but it wraps everything up so well that it’s hard to really deem this a huge flaw in the film as a whole.
Overall I had a really great time with ‘Late Night’. It has charm, heart and the laughs are abundant in the first and second act. The third act loses a bit of momentum and humor but this is a definite must watch from me.