Office alum Mindy Kaling pulls from personal experience in her script for Late Night, the story of TV host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), whose world is rocked by a "diversity hire" on the writing staff—Kaling's Molly Patel. The flick has a 77% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. What critics are saying:
- "Who better than Mindy Kaling to script a comedy-drama about the pitfalls and privilege of the male-dominated media?" writes Ben Travis at Empire. It's "a smart piece of work … providing a steady stream of warm and witty gags, even if it lacks belly laughs." But with competing storylines, it's unclear which makes up the film's "true emotional core."
- "Director Nisha Ganatra nimbly mixes classic rom-com tropes with fresher ideas on race, class, and the tangled ideologies of modern feminism" in this "breezy, uneven comedy," writes Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly, finding fault in its "scattershot" tone. Still, Kaling and Thompson shine together, as does John Lithgow, in "a lovely, understated" role as Newbury's husband.
- "How have we been abiding without a steady supply of leading roles like this for Emma Thompson, and why haven't we by now elected her ruler of all living things?" wonders Jake Coyle at the AP. She's "so regally good that you crave more," he writes, also complimenting Kaling on "a winning performance." Overall, it's an "admirably fun and light movie," even if there is some "cartoonish" exaggeration.
- The film "could not be more timely," but it "could have gone further, darker and deeper," according to Katie Walsh. "Despite its sharp script, impeccable casting and a powerhouse performance by star Emma Thompson, Late Night feels less like a knife to the heart of the good-old boys club and more like a playful punch to the arm," she writes at the Tribune News Service. In her view, the film "takes the easy way out."
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