“With her declarative snap and ability to go for the jugular, Emma Thompson truly seems like a born talk-show host. Even when she’s just riffing, she grounds Late Night in something real. Yet the movie, while it races forward with snappish energy, is telegraphed and a bit scattershot.
“It keeps throwing observations at you — about age and obsolescence, the dumbing down of the culture, the boys’ club of comedy writing, the perils of social media. Yet the themes don’t always mesh into a coherent vision of the talk-show landscape.
“Twenty years ago, The Larry Sanders Show was a brilliant deconstruction of the late-night universe, and now, with so many hosts competing for our attention, that universe has only gotten headier. But in Late Night, the rigamarole of actually running a talk show stays off to the side. The film wants to be a puckish media satire and an earnest workplace dramedy about ‘growing,’ and the fusion doesn’t always gel.” — from Owen Gleiberman’s 1.25.19 Sundance review.