Despite its star-power, ‘Late Night’ is only so-so

It's not a bad movie, but it's not a good one either: ‘Late Night’ is stale, though Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson give it their all.

Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios via AP
Reid Scott (l.) and Mindy Kaling perform in a scene from ‘Late Night.’

It’s a good thing that Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson are the stars of the mediocre “Late Night,” written by Kaling and directed by Nisha Ganatra, because without them, it would resemble nothing much more than a “Devil Wears Prada” knockoff.  

Thompson plays a brittle veteran late-night talk show host with an all white male writing staff. She is coerced into hiring Kaling’s Molly Patel, who has no previous TV experience, as a “diversity hire” in order to boost ratings and counter her image as “a woman who hates women.” Kaling’s naive earnestness in the role is very winning, and Thompson makes her boss lady clichés seem almost fresh. Not quite fresh enough, though, to rescue the movie. Grade: B- (Rated R.)

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