LATE NIGHT Review — A Little Something for Both Your Heart and Your Head

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Late Night Review — Addresses issues that touch us all, in ways that make us think and smile.

Late Night reviewLate Night’s premise and casting are flawless: Emma Thompson is Katherine Newbury, America’s only super successful, female nighttime talk show host host of long standing. Unfortunately, she’s losing her edge and her patience with the turns the media has taken of late. And her staff writers, a group of lazy sycophantic white guys, is not helping.

Her right hand man (Denis O’Hare) strongly suggests she diversify her staff by hiring a female to bale her out before her ship sinks. She reluctantly agrees, and the first resume to catch her eye is that of Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), who has almost no comedy writing experience, but checks off two diversity boxes and seems easy to manage.

The biting comedy and crisp commentary evolve from there. It’s not just about diversity of gender and race, but also of age and demographics. Will Katherine forego interviews with erudite PhDs from political think tanks in favor of  brassy 22-year-old YouTube stars? Are the ratings worth the effort? Can Katherine reel in her condescension? Both sides of that coin are presented.

Sexual politics are also addressed, giving John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy and Reid Scott a chance to shine as well.

I do wish the film, and especially Molly, had a little more edge, a little more definition, a little more bite. Kaling wrote the script, after all, and could have painted her character in bolder strokes. She’s just not as interesting as she woulda coulda shoulda been.

Helmer Nisha Ganatra, director of many episodes of hit TV shows including  Girls, The Mindy Project, Shameless, Fresh Off the Boat and Better Things, could have been more assertive in her direction as well. She keeps the film flowing briskly and smoothly, but more pronounced highs and lows would have added welcome dimension.

Late Night does, however, bring depth and dimension to your local cineplex. It’s a thinking person’s dramady/rom com, that dispenses with the typical boy meets girl plot. The perfect counter programming to sci-fi and animation.

Rated R

1 Hour 42 Minutes

If this Late Night review inclines you to saunter over to the cineplex and see it, get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

Late Night Review — Addresses issues that touch us all, in ways that make us think and smile.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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