by Ian Morton
Amid dwindling ratings, late night talk show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is forced to step back into the writers room in an effort to both save her job and reinvent her image. In an effort to combat her own stereotypical business process, Newbury makes the snap decision to hire the first woman to apply for role in the company, to which chemical quality engineer, Molly (Mindy Kaling) is the ‘lucky’ recipient.
Having recently stated that the lead role was written for Thompson herself, it’s no surprise that this is where the strength of the film lies. With flecks of Meryl Streep’s, Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada), Thompson unabashedly laps up the script with all the trademark talent and charm the actress is known for. Gleefully chewing every bit of scenery she can, it’s a great platform for the actress to carry the film as well as get back to her comedy routes.
Building the soap box from which Thompson thrives, Kaling draws on her own experiences and does a great job at telling a surprisingly honest and warm story while showcasing the plight of women in both comedy and on the big screen. Though there is no denying the schmaltzy cliches a genre film like this is often guilty of, Kaling instead takes full advantage of the highs and lows as and when you would expect them to arrive. Akin to 2017’s, ‘The Big Sick’, the story is unafraid to tackle issues such as gender and ethnicity as well as take a closer look into the #MeToo movement and as a result, makes for a more authentic piece of writing that thrives from from its infectiously likable characters.
In terms of direction, director Nisha Ganatra does very little to inspire but ultimately gets you from beginning to end without having to hold your hand along the way. With most of her experience coming from TV, there is certainly a more televisual than cinematic feel here, but given the nature of the genre, it would be naive to expect Inception levels of storytelling.
Overall Late Night is a breath of fresh air away from the summer blockbuster behemoths. Acting as the perfect counter programming, it’s a comedy that you will leave the cinema having laughed, cried and satisfied that you haven’t had to wait for the end credit scene.
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