Iliza Shlesinger brings her stand-up comedy onto the silver screen for Good On Paper – a semi-autobiographical anti-love story.
Shlesinger’s comedy precedes her, with multiple Netflix specials displaying a perfect blend of female empowerment and mocking.
While she may now be married, she kissed plenty of frogs to find her prince. Once such story, she’s turned into this movie.
In Good On Paper, Shlesinger stars as Andrea Singer, a semi-famous stand-up comic who’s also trying to break into the acting world.
After a dud audition, Andrea finds comfort in Dennis (Ryan Hansen), the gentleman sitting next to her on a plane.
Their unlikely friendship soon extends beyond the business class seats as he starts integrating himself into her life.
Not attracted to him in any way, Andrea initially friendzones the eager Dennis. Not her usual pretty boy, unreliable type. But one night, it moves over into a bedroom, and from then on, everyone considers them a couple.
But there’s more to Dennis than meets the eye, and Andrea soon starts picking up on odd clues that he’s not who he says he is.
With the help of her best friend (Margaret Cho), Andrea starts digging for the truth.
You can see what Shlesinger’s going for here. Good On Paper dismantles the ideal of a ‘nice guy’ and shines a light on the self-entitlement that comes with it.
But when you sign up to what you believe is a rom-com, you’d think there should be a few more laughs that come with it.
It has its moments, mostly with Andrea’s gal pals and frenemies, who can’t help but passive-aggressively swipe at each other even when trying to be nice.
But ultimately, Shlesinger plays it slightly too safely. She should have maybe gone full whack-a-doodle comedy to truly allow herself, and her castmates, to shine.
Hansen and Shlesinger also have no chemistry, with little work done establishing why they would be friends, let alone more. We’re just told instead of being shown.
It’s a similar mishap that Katherine Ryan fell into with her sitcom, The Duchess. Her stand-up history means it took time to adapt to a ‘show, don’t tell’ methodology.
Unlike The Duchess, Good On Paper doesn’t have the time of a limited series to ease into it. As a result, all the characters are lacking a little flesh on their bones.
Is Good On Paper worth the watch?
Good On Paper has some things going for it, but it falls into a classic, cardinal sin of film promotion: the trailer gives too much away.
In fact, it gives away everything, and by the end credits it just feels like a 90-minute stretch of what we already know.
The jokes are there but the structure is clunky with the payoff at the end just not quite hitting the right note.
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While Shlesinger makes a solid effort as a lead, the supporting cast feel 2D against her – and that includes her leading man.
Ultimately, it results in a film that is kind of blah.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Good On Paper is available now on Netflix.
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