Mindy Kaling stirs up the stale, male writing team behind Emma Thompson’s talk show in this warm and witty comedy
‘I wish I was a woman of colour so I could get a job with zero qualification!” The authentic voice of establishment self-pity is given here in all its foot-stamping shrillness. Mindy Kaling is the writer and star of this warm and witty film, playing Molly, a South-Asian-American would-be comedy writer who against all odds gets a job in an all-white environment, and it’s one of her resentful new male colleagues making the sarky crack about how lucky women of colour are. Molly is writing for a cantankerous TV talk show host, Katherine Newberry – imperiously and enjoyably played by Emma Thompson. (She’s a Brit, which perhaps exoticises and tames her whiteness.) The director is Nisha Ganatra, making her feature debut after working on TV shows such as Dear White People and Brooklyn Nine Nine.
Newberry is a once garlanded late-night diva who desperately needs a woman writer to help prevent her slide into irrelevance and ratings oblivion. But the otherwise all-male writers’ room is outraged by this “diversity hire” – although no one uses the passé term “political correctness”. Molly’s employment means that these writers are authentically outraged by a contemporary political issue in a way they have never been before in their lives, despite decades of writing what they imagined to be political satire.