I so wanted to love this. Emma Thompson as an ageing talk show host who needs to shake things up after she finds out she’s being replaced by a newer and younger, MALE voice. That was a tick in the box for me. And Mindy Kaling, the only female who is hired to smooth over diversity concerns. Tick. The film was addressing the difficulty of being a female comedian. Another tick. With such a relevant and refreshing plot, I was more than excited to see this and so ready for a good female comedy. However, for every joke made two more flopped. And the drama element left much to be desired.
Throughout Late Night themes such as quality, diversity and political movements were addressed and made fun of. Whilst it was great to have such socially relevant topics present, it often felt that that they were a bit too on the nose at times and sprinkled through simply just to gain attention from the audience. The time spent on provoking audience reactions through political messages would have been better spent exploring and developing the characters and creating a heart-felt and emotionally resonant narrative.
What did make this movie enjoyable was the acting. Emma Thompson was the true gem, giving tons of emotion and sass in her character whilst elevating a cold and mean performance. All of which was very reminiscent of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, except fabulously British.
Mindy Kaling has given her one of her best roles, with a warm and empathetic performance. I also found out whilst researching into the film that, like her character in the film, Mindy Kaling was a comedy writer on my favourite show; The Office and was the only female writer too. The fact that this was the inspiration for Late Night was what made me so excited to watch this, have some laughs and have a good message to walk away with. Unfortunately, the film lacked the humour and (for me) wasn’t successful in sending a clear message about diversity and sexism in the workplace.
Would You Enjoy This?
I expected much more, but there is still a lot of good things to say about this. There were some good comedy beats and both Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson’s performance were strong. The performances saved this from being a chore to get through and for some people will be enough for them to love. For me, I didn’t really get what I had expected. There was no real barrier for Molly to overcome and I wasn’t able to emotionally connect with really any of the characters. And most of the humour left me in an uncomfortable silence, which was a real disappointment.