Basically: Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson are about to fall in…respect.
Written by and starring Mindy Kaling, directed by Nisha Ganatra, and also starring Emma Thompson comes a platonic romcom about two women falling into respect. It’s snappily written, has fun characters, and is so on point about the demeaning treatment of women in the workplace that you’ll bleed a little. Late Night has everything that should’ve made me love it. I didn’t but, much like Molly (Kaling) and Katherine (Thompson), I respected it in the end.
Photo: Amazon Studios
Let’s get into it, Late Night does what it says on the tin. It’s all about Katherine Newbury, an award winning late night host who’s lost her relevance and objectivity after a few decades on television. She does the kind of Pulitzer Prize winning journalism that most people want to avoid at 11pm and she murders people with her intellect. Enter Molly Patel, the quality control manager at the local chemical plant or factory or plant (depending on who’s talking). Molly has a natural gift for comedy but it’s only because of her audacity and a directive to “hire a woman” that she gets to sit in the writers room for “TONIGHT with Katherine Newbury”. Of course the movie begins when Molly meets Kathy and the two women are transformed through their relationship. That’s not a spoiler. That’s the trailer.
There’s not much else to it. Late Night is pretty much The Devil Wears Prada but more broadly relatable—in that almost every woman will see their own work trials in the misogyny so accurately portrayed on the screen. And, as I mentioned earlier, it has all the beats of a romcom.
Photo: Amazon Studios
The performances are good. Especially John Lithgow, in a small role that is particularly lovely. He plays Katherine’s husband Walter, a man who’s fighting his own personal battles. The cameos are also ones to watch out for. The banter pops like something out of the classics. Think His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. If you’re a fan of intelligent people who whip out the wit at will, as I am, the dialogue will probably delight.
So why did I leave the theater thinking: Wow, I want to have liked that more than I did? There’s something about the film that left me uninvested. Like I was entirely too aware I was in a theater watching a movie when I should’ve been inside that world. After some reflection, I believe it’s because Late Nate is too obvious. It felt almost dated, repeating the same observations we’ve seen revealed in many of our favorite films. It didn’t have much to say about now except for “social media and dog videos and ‘seemingly’ vapid influencers”—hard emphasis on that seemingly.
Perhaps I just wanted more than this film was after. I wouldn’t call it rotten but the story has reached its sell-by-date. However, In the End: Late Night has its charm and its two leading ladies make it worth the time pass.