Late Night

Film, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars
Late Night

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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.


Release details

Release date:
Friday June 7 2019
102 mins

Cast and crew

Nisha Ganatra
Mindy Kaling
Emma Thompson
Mindy Kaling
Ike Barinholtz
Amy Ryan
Megalyn Echikunwoke
John Lithgow
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