Just seeing the trailer, you knew this one was going to be good. When you put Emma Thompson in the starring role - well, you know it's going to be great. Thompson gives what likely will be an awards season repeat performance in Late Night, the workplace comedy co-starring Mindy Kaling, that takes on sexism and deals with the typical old media profession boys club.
The movie feels like a “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) type to give you an idea (and we loved that classic). This one is funny and fun too. Thompson is exceptionally strong just as Meryl was in Prada. Thompson and Kaling are both memorable in their roles who have nothing in common as characters but must benefit from each other. (You ever notice that Thompson is always so good playing roles where she is so unlikable but always so darn funny.) The overall experience is a great night out at the movies. Yes, it's formulaic and could have used even more smart laughs but it works.
Behind-the-scenes media movies and TV shows often do so little to move the needle but this one is a winner due to Thompson's wit and timing, which is some of the best on screen (as usual) as one of the most reliable and sharp under-memoriliazed box office draws today. THAT is what comedic talent looks like. Mindy holds up strongly alongside as part of a perfectly-paced duo. The best parts of the entire film are the one-liners that Thompson and Kaling so perfectly time out and volly consistently. Two women, with nothing in common, but the punchlines, and that they work in a male dominated field.
The story deals with a legendary late-night talk show host (Thompson) whose world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer which was nothing more than a diveristy hire to beign with. Kaling is the writer/co-producer and co-star. The director is Nisha Ganatra. Together they create solid laughs and a timely premise. John Lithgow (as Newbury's husband) Hugh Dancy and Amy Ryan back up the cast.
“Tonight with Katherine Newbury” is a long-running TV talk show. Newbury is a vet at 30 years hosting the show. She's respected but elistist and ratings are dropping. She has never hired women as part of her writing staff, has no girlfirends, won't change the show for years, is snobby about her place in TV history and lack of willingness to change, and has no idea why social media ever came along or how why she needs it. Until. Molly Patel (Kaling) comes long. Molly is a former chemical plant employee who has wanted to work in comedy but has not done one day doing this level, and when Katherine is about to be let go for a younger male, she realizes she has to shake things up. Molly enters with a skip in her step and tells Newbury it's time to appeal to a younger demo saying the old white guys just don't cut it anymore. She pushes, suggests and advises despite Newbury's reluctance until she does. In the end, formaulaic, but Thompson is so strong in this role that you enjoy the even predictable ride and just get joy out of watching her just do her thing.
Emma Thompson is what real comedy is about.