Writer-star Mindy Kaling’s quick quips keep this warm comedy ticking over, even if it doesn’t head anywhere particularly new.
They say you should write what you know, and it pays off in Mindy Kaling’s latest screenplay, directed by Nisha Ganatra. The comedian-actress-writer also stars as Molly Patel, a new hire in the writers’ room of a long-running talk show. The potentially awkward wrinkle? She’s a mega-fan of the show with no writing experience.
They also say you should never meet your idols. While it’s the only show of its kind to be fronted by a woman, its award-winning host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is jaded and has just been labelled a ‘woman-hater’ by the tabloids. All the power dressing in the world (and Thompson’s colour-block suits deserve a best-supporting Oscar) can’t mask her plummeting ratings. To muddy things further, Molly – who seems to have a firmer grasp of inspirational quotes than punchlines – soon gets labelled a ‘diversity hire’ by her man-child colleagues.
Kaling makes comedy that’s warm and relatable, and these scenes feel like just that. Molly wears ‘adorkable’ very well and while her fan-girling wears thin on Thompson’s character, it has an easy charm. As the show comes under threat and her boss steps back into the writers’ room in desperation, Molly shows her that she can fight back with funnies that are progressive, smart and inclusive – and there’s soon a sharp spike in the previously off-limits menopause gags Thompson is delivering. The Hollywood ending may be inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less uplifting.
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Average User Rating
4 / 5
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Highly enjoyable - Emma Thompson is just great (as always) - but the drama all stays a bit too light and fluffy to have any real weight behind it. The laughs keep coming but the ending is standard saccharine Hollywood fare that is signposted well before it happens. Still, it is never anything less than entertaining.