New Netflix movie Good On Paper combines stand-up comedy with romance drama to tell the story of a comedian/actor who starts dating the perfect guy. However, Andrea played by Iliza Shlesinger (Instant Family), discovers that Dennis may not be who he says he is, and may not check all her boxes after all. Good on Paper has its funny moments with some decent stand-up comedy, but overall is a pretty dumb and convoluted watch that believes itself to be wittier than it is.
Written by Becca Johnson
It's hard to judge a movie too much when it's just trying to have a bit of fun. Shlesinger's stand-up is pretty modern and relatable, and though the addition of these segments may have felt out of place, they did allow for a few laughs. Shlesinger also has a great dynamic with Margaret Cho (Face/Off) who plays her on screen best friend. They have frequent banter and it's a joy to watch them both having a blast on screen and helping each other through the craziest of dilemmas. The script includes a few messages about feminism and the treatment of women, yet remains light-hearted in its approach
As unique as the premise is, Dennis, played by Ryan Hansen (Central Intelligence), is unlikable from the start. It's initially hard to trust anything he says and there are red flags from the minute he meets Andrea, meaning there is nothing to root for and no element of surprise when suspicion grows. Andrea also states that she isn't sure about her love for Dennis and that she prefers him as a friend, meaning there isn't much love to get behind in the first place. As funny and different as these characters are, it's hard to fully get on board with them when there's little to root for.
Though the performances are mostly watchable, particularly from lead Iliza Shlesinger, Good on Paper suffers from a serious amount of over-acting. The over exaggeration of each and every line becomes tiring and off putting by the end, making the audience feel exhausted. It unfortunately winds up creating unlikable characters that we are supposed to root for. The rich, high brow characters are difficult to relate to and get on board with, especially when it feels as though the actors are trying much too hard.
Good on Paper boasts good editing. The run-time flies past, with every scene providing some sort of entertainment and adding to the wider plot. The humour is the driving force pushing the movie forward, and fortunately it often works. However, the ending creeps into ludicrous territory. Although it definitely has pay-off, things get a bit silly and wacky with many a moment to face-palm at.
Good on Paper is going to split audiences. On one hand, its seriously funny and manages to remain so throughout, with a fast paced story featuring an intriguing plot about a man who may not be all that he says he is. However, there is not enough mystery to keep the movie exciting, the performances are wildly over-acted and the stand-up comedy can often feel out of place. Good on Paper is worth watching for fans of the comedy genre, but won't do enough for a wider audience.