Photo Credit / Amazon Studios
Film Distribution / Amazon Studios
Runtime 102 minutes.
Writer Mindy Kaling co-stars with Emma Thompson in her biting, feel-good satire of diversity and late night TV. While it’s filmed like a TV show (where first time movie director Nisha Ganatra lives), it is funny, appealing and topical, despite its Hollywood Ending’s lack of connection with the real world.
The story is semi-autobiographical as Kaling was a college intern on “Late Night with Conin O’Brien,” went on to become the first “woman of color” to write for the hit sitcom “The Office,” starred in her own show, “The Mindy Project,” and wrote two best-selling books.
So she wrote a clever script and then takes the role she basically created for herself, as Molly Patel, the first woman writer on Katherine Newberry’s (Thompson) show, “Late Night,” which happens to be the only late night talk show hosted by a woman and that has lasted for almost 30 years.
While Thompson and Kaling do give fine performances, the one who stands out above all others is Dennis O’Hare, who plays Brad, Katherine’s Executive Producer. Of all the characters in the film, he is the most true to life and the funniest. He carries every scene in which he appears.
The writers’ room is filled with actors who are comics themselves, including John Early, Paul Walter Hauser, Reid Scott and Hugh Dancy. While all are humorous to a smaller extent than they could have been, they are background bit players to Molly.
The setup is a little hard to stomach, to think that a groundbreaking woman like Katherine would have never had a female writer, or any other female on her staff, but that’s what the movie sets out, so that’s what we have to live with. In fact, one of the criticisms of Katherine is that she is “anti-woman,” and that’s why her show is in jeopardy.
As with most movies today, the denouement is a Hollywood Ending that might work in a fantasy, but certainly doesn’t work here. Still, it doesn’t ruin a movie that up until then has been very good.