by Philip Price
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Starring: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling & John Lithgow
Runtime: 1 hour & 42 minutes
Mindy Kaling's screenplay and the energy of the ensemble cast in “Late Night” help it transcend the sitcom-like direction of Nisha Ganatra (a TV veteran with credits like “Transparent,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Shameless” to her name) to create what is both a light piece of fluff to curl up to on a Saturday night as well as a timely discussion on the points of diversity in all its forms, among other things. As much as I support and enjoy the fact these themes are being discussed as well as the chemistry Kaling ignites between her Molly and Emma Thompson's late night legend, Katherine Newbury (a pointed piece of satire in its own right), and believe me - despite the conventional plotting and genre constraints this firmly fits into there are plenty of sharp observations and smart conversations swirling around within its borders - my favorite thing about “Late Night” is how Kaling talks so passionately about comedy and furthermore, creating comedy. There is a reverence for the process and a chronicling of sorts around what it takes to make certain jokes work and why some jokes work better than others no matter the contrast in quality. As much as it adheres to the beats of its classification it also insists on making every line of dialogue count as if to insist that what is being said is important, sure, but it's how Kaling is conveying what she's saying that really matters to her.