A TV talk show hires its first female writer.
Late Night isn’t the first comedy set behind the scenes of a long-running network TV show, said Johnny Oleksinski in the New York Post. But writer and co-star Mindy Kaling “shrewdly crumples up that old formula and starts fresh”: She has invented a late-night talk show that for decades has been the fiefdom of a prickly female host who, to prove she doesn’t hate other women, finally adds a woman to her writing staff. Kaling plays the accidental trailblazer, an earnest newcomer who’s given little time to prove her worth. “It’s a setup ripe for sharp commentary on women coexisting in a male-dominated field,” said Benjamin Lee in TheGuardian.com. But though Emma Thompson is “a whirlwind” as an office tyrant, the movie’s humor rarely rises above smirk-worthy, and its general agreeableness fights against its occasional attempts to bitingly satirize comedy-world misogyny. But Late Night is not about men, said Alissa Wilkinson in Vox.com. It’s “about the tactics some women use to try to stay ahead in male-dominated spaces,” and its stars deliver two fun case studies. The movie won’t rewrite how women are portrayed, but it just might prod other comedies to “try a little harder.” ■