17 June 2019 | jwwalrath-227-85487
Top notch effort
Late Night is about a first-time comedy writer (played by Mindy Kaling) for a long-running and ill-tempered late night talk show host (played by Emma Thomspon) who is in danger of being fired due to low ratings. I thought this might be a fun time. I generally like Mindy Kaling. However, I was still surprised at how well handled this was.
The movie is an involving critique of the television industry. Kaling, who also wrote this, is clearly working from past experiences of a woman of color working in a white male industry. The message and plot are told in a smart, natural, and playful way. Yeah, the whole follows the ol' bright-eyed-newcomer warms the heart of the experienced curmudgeon trope, but the movie does such a fine job, that it didn't matter much.
Mindy does a fine job of being being bubbly and optimistic while also handling the character's low points well. However, this is Thompson's film. She is acting her butt off here. Yeah, the story does ham it up a bit in regards to her apathy and biting remarks toward her writing staff, but Thompson makes the character work. You end up understanding her and feel for her by the end.
This is one of those rare films where almost the entire supporting and ancillary cast and characters just work. Most personalities, even for the more minor members of Thompson's writing staff are well-crafted. I simply don't have time to credit all the actors in this.
For a comedy the movie isn't brightly shot, which is often the norm. However, this does kind of accentuate the New York setting and real world roots of the subject manner.
Overall, temper your expectations about plot originality, but still expect to be entertained.