Some people overstay their welcome on TV, that’s a fact.
Some people get their foot into an office door for completely the wrong reason, right. In Late Night, written by Mindy Kaling, who knows a thing or three about the TV comedy game and starring Emma Thompson, who should be on our big screens even more, Nisha Ganatra directs a half-comedy, half-drama about two women who come together to fight the entertainment world, their lives and even each other.
Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, a talk show host who’s let her prime show grow so stale that the network boss has told her that this 28th year is her last. Kaling plays Molly Patel, an analyst from a chemical plant in Pennsylvania that happens to be owned by the same mega company as the network. That somehow outrageously gains Molly an interview when Katherine allows that, yes, she does need a woman in her all-man writing room.
And so the battles begin.
Molly adores Katherine, but she’s unafraid to tell anybody exactly what she thinks is wrong about the show.
Katherine doesn’t like anybody except her ailing NYU professor emeritus husband, played solidly by John Lithgow.
Kaling and Thompson show nice chemistry as Molly and Katherine bob and weave through painful discoveries.
One of the fellow writers turns out to be far worse to both of them than either deserves. They take it differently, of course. But their lives really do work better together. And the audience is better for these two artists’ give and take, too.