Potted Film Review: Late Night (2019)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow

Late Night - PosterWhat’s it all about?
Katherine (Thompson) is a late night chat show host who discovers that her show is about to be pulled off the air due to falling ratings. Molly (Kaling) is the female comedy writer she hires to try to turn her sinking ship around… which would be fine, except Molly works at a chemical plant and has no experience with jokes. Molly is also an ethnic minority, just so we can tick that box as well.

Katherine is an unlikeable character, and just when she seems to be making amends for her shortcomings, a skeleton falls out of her closet, and she’s back to being that woman you wouldn’t really fancy as a friend. There’s a sentimental and heartfelt monologue at the end which is not as impressive as it thinks it is.

It’s good to see (fabricated as it is likely to be) some behind-the-scenes action from the production of a late night show. It shines a light on the difficulties of such a high-pressure environment and I left the movie respecting what these guys and gals do on a daily basis.

Watching it with the kids…
This is perfectly fine, with a few curse words scattered throughout, but if you can handle those there’s nothing else to worry about here.

Verdict…
Late Night is not a fall-about-the-floor comedy, and there are stretches where it plays more like a drama, but there are funny moments in here, and it never threatens to be a bad movie.

Emma Thompson (an actress I would never go out of my way to see) plays this role in her usual, cynical, Emma Thompson way. That’s fine, but just as detractors of ZZ Top’s music say that every track sounds the same, every Thompson performance is much like the last. Just don’t go in expecting her to do more than collect a paycheck.

Late Night is an entirely acceptable piece of fluff that you can watch on a weekend and forget about a few days later.

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