Late Night is a film written from Mindy Kaling partly inspired by the time Kaling was a writer and diversity hire on The Office. It centers on late night talk show host, Katherine Newberry (Emma Thompson) who is on the cusp of losing her show. She has to hire a new female writer named Molly (Kaling) to ward off backlash but she ends up giving the show new life.
This film is marketed as a comedy, but it isn’t really much of one. I was surprised that the film touched on deeper issues in the entertainment industry. And you learn a bit about late night shows and the production that goes behind them.
Emma Thompson shines as Newberry, she brings her A-game to this role. She is a character set in her ways, uncaring, and a bit unlikable. But like Molly in the film you are drawn to her. And you appreciate anytime that she shows vulnerability or her personality. Kaling is also good as Molly. She’s bright-eyed and not afraid to speak her mind. Though it’s a bit hard to believe that she was able to get this job without any qualifications for it.
The film also has a decent supporting cast as well with John Lithgow as Newberry’s husband, Amy Ryan as the network executive, Reid Scott (who I still see as Dan Egan from Veep) and Hugh Dancy as other writers on the show.
Maybe because this just wasn’t the film I was expecting, but I was a bit disappointed with Late Night. I ultimately just found the film to be a bit forgettable. While I liked the exploration into diversity hires and whatnot, I would have preferred to see these writers actually be funny and try to save the show than the drama of Newberry’s personal and professional life being criticized.
Overall, Late Night touches on some important issues and has good performances. The story however was not very captivating to me. This film may be a better watch at home or online.
I give Late Night a C+