Emma Thompson is believable enough as a TV talk show host, and that is enough to make "Late Night" entertaining at times, such as when she tells her audience, "Tom Cruise is the same age as me. He gets to fight The Mummy. I am The Mummy."
As the film opens, the rush is on to hire a woman for the show's all-male writers' room. Enter Molly Patel, played by Mindy Kaling.
The character doesn't have any comedy experience - at all! Her last job was at a chemical plant.
There is no circumstance in which such a person would be hired for a network TV show. It's just too far beyond the realm of possibility, although I did enjoy watching her share the screen with Emma.
All her Emmy awards can't keep Thompson's character, Katherine Newbury, relevant.
The network boss wants to replace her with a crude comic, so the host decides to double down and start caring about her show again, telling her staff to "think about ways the show is bad and come up with ways to fix it!"
Any resemblance to how such a program actually gets produced is purely coincidental. And we don't see enough of Mindy Kaling in this movie, which is odd because she is the person who wrote it!
Katherine is married to a man. He is played by John Lithgow, a talented star who is wasted here without much to do.
A romantic subplot involving a co-worker has a high 'ick' factor and just seems odd in a movie about female empowerment and friendship!
"Late Night" is a movie I really tried to like, but just could not.
It's important to ponder why talk shows still lack diversity behind-the- scenes. But here, the details just didn't seem real enough to buy the larger message.
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Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Late Night,' starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling