Late Night

Emma Thompson is a treasure! From Nanny McPhee to Elinor Dashwood, from Hillary Clinton to Agent O, she never misses a beat. This time she is an Anna Wintour-type talk-show hostess who is becoming irrelevant. Her ego doesn't want to accept the news, thus our story begins...

Director Nisha Ganatra (LOTS of TV), working with writer/actress Mindy Kaling ("The Mindy Project"), brings us an involving story that highlights the trials and tribulations of talk-show writers, along with the challenges of hosting a long-running talk show (and keeping one's name out of the tabloids).

Part of Ganatra's capable cast:
  • Emma Thompson ("King Lear") Katherine Newbury admits to the accusation that she hates women (except Gilda Radner) but cannot accept any threat of cancellation for her long-running show.
  • Mindy Kaling ("A Wrinkle in Time") Molly grew up watching the show and adores Katherine. Through a fluke, she is suddenly hired as a writer, a job she has no background or training for; her co-writers are NOT pleased.
  • John Lithgow ("The Crown") Walter is her loyal husband. Health issues are looming and stress is growing.
  • Hugh Dancy ("Robot Chicken") Charlie is the only friendly face at the writers' table. He warns Molly about pitfalls and helps her find her way.
  • Reid Scott ("Veep") Tom is Katherine's opening monologue writer. He has no intention of sharing that spot!
  • Amy Ryan ("Bridge of Spies") Caroline is the network executive who has the responsibility to deliver the bad news.
We immediately see that the writers are an unmotivated bunch and we can see why the ratings have been slowing sinking for ten years. A "Gotcha!" from the tabloids is a shock but Katherine's producer advises her to ignore it and it will soon be forgotten. Molly doesn't see it that way. Katherine has told Molly to "stop giving advice and write something!"

Newbury's rapier wit and Molly's well-meaning advice make for an interesting screenplay, which I enjoyed. There are a few unexpected twists and turns, but no guns, vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff, and no noticeable profanity. The R rating is more for adult perspective than sexual content or violence.

I will probably buy the DVD because the theater where I viewed this doesn't offer closed caption devices and I know I missed some of Katherine's zingers.
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