Written by Mindy Kaling, Late Night is a decent drama-comedy about a failing night show host and her attempts to revive her career. The night show host in question is Katherine Newbury, played by Emma Thompson. A rather uppity woman, her high brow attitude to her show, its formula and the guests she has on, has led the ratings to steadily decline over the last 10 years. Unable to compete with the more successful shows that have A list guests, her new boss has decided to can the show entirely.
The problem is that Katherine isn't a particularly likable or engaging person or boss. Despite working for her for years, she doesn't actually know the names of any of her writing team. She has no female staffers and refuses to modernise the show's format or the guests she has on it. Realising quickly that the status quo will no longer work, she demands that somebody hire at least one female writer. Coincidentally, fledgling comedian Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) is applying for a job at the show. With absolutely no experience in tv or comedy, she manages to get the job purely as a box-ticking exercise.
Despite initially struggling in the role, Molly soon gets to grips with how everything works and starts to produce some funny, cutting edge material. But will Katherine move fast enough and change her life to keep her career or will she just throw in the towel and hand her job over to a younger more popular comedian?
Late Night is a really interesting movie. Even though it is billed as a comedy, and it is quite funny, it's the underlying drama themes that resonate more. Emma Thomson is, as always, brilliant in this role. An older woman being pushed out of the industry in favour of a younger, more popular host is particularly on point. So too is the fact that Kaling's character was only hired to fulfill a diversity quota.
If there is one criticism it's that everything is a little too on the nose. There's very little subtlety in the messages Kaling wants to get across so it becomes predictable and a little cringey. However, the balance between comedy and drama is spot on and Late Night is still a perfectly pleasant watch.