LATE NiGHT movie Reviewed by Dena Stewart and Pamela Mayer:
LATE NiGHT talk show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) finally gets the drift that her decades old show is aging out when her ratings nosedive and she is accused of being a woman who hates women. Add to that, there are rumors that she is being replaced by a younger, hipper male host. Suddenly aware that her staff-writers are all men, she impulsively hires Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), a chemical plant efficiency expert from suburban Pennsylvania looking for a creative challenge. Although Molly has no experience writing for a television talk show host, as a life-long fan of Katherine Newbury, and now the new voice on the writing team, Molly takes on the job of making Katherine Newbury funny and relevant again.
What we found to be missing in this movie was a clear sense of who these people were; (Why had the writing staff never met with Katherine? Where did Molly get the confidence to “take charge” in an unfamiliar, very competitive industry? and aside from being the only woman host of a Late Night Talk Show, what was Katherine’s long-running appeal to have remained on the air as long as she had?); And it seemed to us that as the screenplay writer, Mindy Kaling realized that these questions needed to be answered, as well. So, she threw in Walter Newbury (John Lithgow) as Katherine’s devoted husband who has Parkinson’s Disease, apparently to show that Katherine has more emotional depth than a one-dimensional self-centered diva. But his appearance came too late and was too little to pull at our heartstrings.
On the upside, Mindy Kaling has timing and funny on her side. And Emma Thompson is superb throwing razor sharp one-liners punctuated by her severely stylized tailored wardrobe. Quick-witted repartee makes LATE NiGHT an entertaining movie and a welcome addition to this summer’s amusement agenda.
And, to quote Stewart Stewart, “Guys will enjoy this flick, too.” Stewart gives LATE NiGHT
- Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury
- Mindy Kaling as Molly Patel
- John Lithgow as Walter Newbury
- Hugh Dancy as Charlie Fain
- Reid Scott as Tom Campbell
- Max Casella as Burditt
- Denis O’Hare as Brad
- Amy Ryan as Caroline Morton
- Paul Walter Hauser as Mancusco
- John Early as Reynolds
- Megalyn Echikunwoke as Robin
- Ike Barinholtz as Daniel Tennant
- Annaleigh Ashford as Mimi Mismatch