Coming to theatres this Friday from director Nisha Ganatra, writer Mindy Kaling and Amazon Studios is the funny found in LATE NIGHT.
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the host(ess) of television’s LATE NIGHT. An icon of late night she is also having difficulty in the ratings. Part of the problem is that she seems a little out of touch and always dominating her all male writer’s room.
Brought to her attention by Brad (Denis O’Hare), she makes it clear that hiring a female writer for the team is top priority. The writing staff of head writer Tom (Reid Scott), Charlie (Hugh Dancy), Burditt (Max Casella), Mancuso (Paul Hauser), Reynolds (John Early) and others are surprised when Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) walks in the door.
A chemical plant worker by day, Molly has a dabble of experience in comedy and that’s enough to be hired for. The team tries to come up with ideas to save the show when they discover that the head of the studio Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) has taken enjoyment with the announcement.
Newbury is in a state that even her husband Walter (John Lithgow) can’t get her out of. That’s when Molly kicks her ideas into high gear and the team beings to crank out comedy that it working.
As much as Tom fought against Molly, Molly finding a workplace romance and Newbury fighting change – it takes one work to the media to potentially bring it all down.
That’s when comedy does its best work!
Thompson as Katherine is a strong woman who has become a tad complacent about her show. Fighting the change that could have kept her on top, it is a changing of the guard that makes her realize she will try anything once – twice if it will get ratings. Thompson is a favorite of mine so it’s always good to see her go in a different direction.
Kaling as Molly brings out all the big guns in her character and honestly doesn’t do a thing for me. She uses every excuse in the book for her lot in life from calling herself a “diversity hire” to jokes about “white privilege” and all I could think was ‘and she wrote this?’. I don’t mind films that bring out issues but when it’s every issue on the planet you lose me quick.
Scott as Tom is a guy who doesn’t like the idea of having Molly thrown into the mix with no experience. That would be said of anyone who took the job in the writers room but of course he’s going to be raked over the coals. Dancy as Fain gets the chance to be a douchebag and plays it perfectly.
Lithgow as Walter is absolutely lovely and doesn’t fit in the film at all. He’s the quiet cheerleading squad to his wife’s mania. O’Hare as Brad is constantly browbeaten so that is about the extend of his role. Two amazing actors used badly.
Casella, Hauser, Early, Slattery, Barinholtz and the rest of the writer’s room are made to look incompetent when in actuality they were just stuck in a room with their hands tied around their backs.
Ryan as Morton is the iron fist that comes down on Katherine’s head with plenty of enjoyment. So basically its one woman of power smacking down on another woman who thinks she has power. So much for lifting one another up eh?
Look, I’m sure there are those that will enjoy LATE NIGHT and it isn’t that I totally hated it. There are moments that are funny even if they are far apart.
I didn’t know whether to cheer women, women of color, women taking care of their man, women for change, men being brow beaten, men living in job fear, blah blah blah blah. I couldn’t invest myself in pretty much any of it because instead of it being a learning experience it felt like constant jabbing.
I’m not sure what Kaling was trying to prove here but for me it didn’t work well enough for me to even watch it again on television. Not a fan of whining, blaming or poor me in general but when it’s all in one film I pretty much check out early.
The sad part about this is that there are some very talented people in this film and, to me; it feels as if they have just been put in roles that they didn’t deserve.
Oh well, that’s how I feel about it anyway.
In the end – they are attempting to give comedy a re-write!