By Tim Nasson
In the movie Late Night, from the failing movie studio Amazon Studios, Oscar winner Emma Thompson plays, to put it mildly, a late night talk show host who just may be network TV’s nastiest bitch.
She is such a bitch that she has never learned her writer’s names, and refers to them by a number, 1 through 8. In fact, she was not even aware that one of her writers had died many years earlier.
Her ratings are sagging and she is tasked with trying to boost them. What to do? Hire a female writer, perhaps, since her staff is comprised solely of males?
Along comes Mindy Kaling’s Molly, who also wrote this film, a film which purports to be a comedy, but is actually nothing more than a low class attempt at being a raunch-com. There are enough F-bombs in the film, which are completely out of place, and toilet humor, you’d think the movie was catering to teen males, which is the furthest thing its targeted audience is; women.
Ike Barinholtz, who plays the character the network wants to replace Thompson with, has classic one liners such as, “I will shit in your shoe.” Seriously?
The film’s plot is predictable from beginning to end. Thompson’s marriage is failing because she is working too hard. (And because she is just an unlikable person). Her new female hire, Molly, (Kaling), quits, because she is so vile. How will it end? It is not a sin to give away that everything turns out the way you think it would as, again, there is not an ounce of originality in the script.
The highest grossing movie in Amazon Studios’ short and most likely dated history, Beautiful Boy, grossed just over $7 million. Amazon Studios botched that film’s big Oscar chances, too, failing to garner a Best Actor Oscar nod for its star Timothee Chalamet. While Late Night will end up earning more than Beautiful Boy at the box office, it is hardly going to become “the” summer comedy the studio so conceitedly thought it would. It will be lucky to earn $20 million during its entire theatrical run. (FYI, Manchester By The Sea, was cofinanced by Amazon Studio, that film was released by Roadside Attractions).
Movie studios and movie theaters split box office revenue 50/50%. Late Night needs to earn over $40 million at the U.S. box office just to break even, which isn’t going to happen. It will be lucky to earn back what it cost Amazon Studios. Amazon Studios paid $14 million for this pile of garbage at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Between the cost of the film and marketing, they will end up in the red, for sure, proving yet again that Amazon needs to get out of the movie business and stick to peddling its wares online.
Late Night Review by Tim Nasson