Movie #291 2020: Late Night (2019)

You know when a movie has the right sentiments but just doesn’t hit the heights of greatness? Well, that’s this movie.

Late Night stars Mindy Kaling and the wonderful Emma Thompson as a young comedian and a TV talk show host respectively. When Katherine (Thompson) notices that her talk show ratings are in decline, so goes on the hunt for new writers. Kaling plays Molly, whom Katherine stumbles upon when she sees her stand-up comedy set in a local bar. As Molly has always been a huge fan of the show, she jumps at the chance. However, things are not quite as they seem, and Molly quickly realises that Katherine is not how she expected her to be.

Yes, this is exactly the same blueprint as The High Note, but I do not care. I’d watch the same story yet again with two different actresses in the main roles. I just want more movies led by two women okay?! And that’s where the correct sentiments lie: two female characters in leading roles in a comedy is something that is hard to come by, even in 2020.

So how does this film manage to be distinctly average? Sadly, Late Night once again suffers from the same tonal issues as Nisha Ganatra‘s 2020 film in that it’s kind of a comedy but kind of a drama? If you look at the whole picture, it’s not really much of either when you put all the pieces together. It’s not bad, it’s just not always cohesive, and ends up being a victim to tonal disaster.

Thankfully, Emma Thompson is just excellent in every single role, and carries the weight of this movie on her shoulders. She could – like Meryl – play Batman and it would be amazing. Honestly, she was pretty much what will keep you engaged throughout, and her wardrobe department do a particularly kick-ass job. Conversely, Mindy Kaling unfortunately didn’t stand out in this, which is weird because she’s usually got that star quality. In comparison to 2020’s The High Note, in which Dakota Johnson did a brilliant job at standing up to the infectious magnetism of Tracee Ellis Ross, Kaling simply fades into the background.

Storyline-wise, this seems like quite a complete picture in comparison to other movies of a similar type (again, including The High Note, which was a bit all over the place, and I’ll stop mentioning it now.) However, for a movie about two funny women, it’s just not funny enough and that’s really sad because I was really rooting for it to be laugh out loud.

Decent storyboarding aside, the romantic subplot is a snore and I genuinely don’t even remember who the love interest was at this point. Other than that, the pacing is decent even if the actual content of the story is a little “ehhh”.

The tagline to this movie should be ”Enjoyable but forgettable”.

Late Night is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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