Film Review – Late Night

Late Night (M)

Directed by: Nisha Ganatra

Starring: Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson

Four stars

Review by Julian Wright 

The unlikely pairing of TV funny woman Mindy Kaling and Oscar winning writer/actor Emma Thompson proves to be something we never thought we would get, but something we need.

Trailblazing comedian Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) has enjoyed decades of success, including years on her own late night talk show – but ratings have been consistently dipping for years.

When her boss threatens to replace her if ratings don’t pick up, Katherine is forced to shake things up among her team of white, male writers. Her first step is a diversity hire.

Enter Indian-American woman and chemical plant worker Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), who has zero writing experience, but raw talent, ambition and a dream to work for her comedic hero.

The odd-couple clashing between the fish-out-of-water newbie Molly and snooty British comedy veteran Katherine provides many of the laughs, but Kaling’s script is about far more than simply sit-com moments.

latenight

Her take on workplace diversity and the way women and minorities are treated in the office and in society is a current, vital point of view that is not being explored in cinema at the moment otherwise.

Giving her script even further weight, Kaling has fleshed out Katherine’s character far beyond what you may expect from what appears on the surface to be a lightweight comedy. But the well-rounded character allows Thompson something to flourish in and she delivers a terrific performance.

It is just a shame that Kaling doesn’t give her own character as many dimensions (she often speaks of a dowdy, embarrassing home-life that we never actually get to see). Two equally strong female characters would have made this absolutely pop.

Not exactly a 100 per cent original piece, there are echos of Morning Glory and even The Devil Wears Prada here, but Late Night surprises with some great banter, food for thought and POV that we hardly see in cinema.

 

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