Iliza Shlesinger went from winning Last Comic Standing to her own web show to hosting a dating show. Occasionally she plays supporting characters in Mark Wahlberg movies. And now, she’s starring in her own Netflix movie where she plays Andrea Singer, a comic. She and her best friend Margot (Margaret Cho) befriend Dennis Kelly (Ryan Hansen), the kind of guy who makes corny toasts. But Andrea and Margot and drunk enough not to call out his corniness. Maybe his natural charisma makes them oversee how corny he really is.
Good on Paper is about Andrea’s friendship with Dennis which, ladies and gentlemen and nb’s, don’t fuck guys named Dennis. Dennis looks like a serial killer and he’s passing himself off as a hedge fund manager and he’s always around when Andrea needs him, which is a red flag. He eventually convinces her to be his girlfriend. He does this even though he’s never invited her to his house because he’s temporarily living in an apartment, which she’s never seen. Margot spots this second red flag, enough to convince her to investigate him. They even get their frenemy Serrena Halstead (Rebecca Rittenhouse) to tag along during one of their stakeouts.
The movie occasionally tries to take its viewers far from this A-plot and punctuates it with Andrea’s own stand-up routine. Here she makes jokes about Dennis through each stage of their relationship. She’s wearing the same top during these scenes. There’s at least a few excuses as to why she’s wearing the same top. But the most cynical of us are just going to call this movie out for shooting these scenes during the same day. It can’t be that hard for a successful comic to get another top. That’s just one of the sloppy things within Kimmy Gatewood’s direction.
Those stand-up scenes are basically a Greek chorus on top of another Greek chorus. That second chorus is Andrea’s narration, and just like the one here, most narrations aren’t good. In fairness, Gatewood and Shlesinger, who also wrote the movie based on a real life ex, do things right here. They do their best to make this feel like a parody of those ‘boyfriend is a killer’ melodramas. And it’s not always depicting Dennis or the stand-up scenes. Its third point of focus, thank God is on Andrea’s friendship with Margot. Unfortunately, Shlesinger has to return to her A-plot.
It takes a turn that can make viewers suspect that she needed to write a few more scenes so that this movie can clock in more than 90 minutes. Brevity is wit, a comic like her should know this. This plot twist, by the way, takes Andrea and Margot to kidnap Dennis and for him to turn around and press charges on Andrea only. The court scenes exist only for Andrea to call out Dennis’ lies and in that spirit I would like to tell the truth. I have perpetual impostor syndrome as a film critic, this movie is terrible, although I do want to see Shlesinger try again.