Mindy Kaling scripted her first feature specifically with Emma Thompson in mind as the long-running host of a long-in-the-tooth network late night talk show. even if the story doesn't break a lot of new ground comedically -- it's "The Devil Wears Prada" in midtown TV studio instead of the Madison Ave. offices of Vogue -- the jokes are sharp and Kaling's observations about gender, age, and ethnicity in the entertainment industry give the film a fresh take.

Thompson, it goes without saying, carries both the fictional show and the actual film on her capable shoulders. A Best Actress nomination would be assured if the category rewarded comedy as equally as it honors dramatic roles. But she leaves it all on the screen and stage regardless.