Mindy Kaling’s ‘Late Night’ Is Clever, (A Bit Convoluted) & A Great Deal Of Fun
s a woman of color in America–squeezing your big toe into any door, no matter what career field you may be striving for, can prove to be a harrowing experience. Not only are you often overlooked, but when you do manage to get a seat at the table, your presence is questioned at every turn. Using her own experiences (with a bit of embellishment)–Mindy Kaling’s Late Night puts women at the center of the male-dominated late-night talk show sector. Written by Kaling and helmed by Nisha Ganatra, the film follows Molly Patel (Kaling) a former chemical plant efficiency specialist who has always wanted to break into the comedic world. Luckily for her, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), the only woman in the late night game is looking to revamp her show.
With plummeting ratings, a disdain for “low brow” comedy, and a writer’s room full of 30-ish something white boys, Katherine realizes she has do something drastic to save the show that has been her life’s blood for nearly three decades. When Molly finds herself in an unlikely meeting with Katherine’s producer (Denis O’Hare), she’s hired on the spot. With occurs next is a masterclass in 21st-century comedy that places the experiences of women, and women of color in particular in predominantly white and male spaces at the forefront of cinema.
Molly (a more earnest version of Kaling’s Mindy Project character) is over-the-moon to be stepping into her new role. Gleeful, bright-eyed, and armed with cupcakes on her very first day–Molly runs into a brick wall. She soon learns that Katherine, a woman she’s idolized for most of her life can’t even be bothered to learn the names of her writers, choosing to address them with numbers instead. Her co-workers aren’t much better. In addition to using the women’s restroom for their daily poos, they also feel threatened by Molly’s presence and thwart her efforts for change at every turn.
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