IIt might be too generous to say that the Netflix dating film Good on Paper was itself an embodiment of its title, but before release there were enough reasons to at least label it “good on paper” , a welcome addition to the streamer’s growing sub-genre of female and created comedies. First, and what is often most depressing these days about a Netflix “original” is that it was produced by a real studio before it was acquired (in this case, Universal), giving it the feel and aesthetics of a authentic movie. Second, it’s based on a true story from the life of comedian Iliza Schlesinger, which she turned into a screenplay, artfully giving herself her first major role and also telling a story of meeting in an authentic place, rather than s’ lean on the general idea of a married person. of what swiping, flirting and fucking look like in the modern age.
Schlesinger’s fierce and fast-paced comedy, while far from unique, can often be overwhelmingly funny, battling the misogynistic ideas of non-conforming women as well as the messiest and easily judged ways we do. often act in relationships. . The elements translate well in a dating movie, something she discusses at length on stage, but not well enough, given how specific and hilarious she can be in her stand-up, the film often feeling a little bit beige and shapeless in comparison. Schlesinger plays Andrea, a fictional version of herself, a single comic that ends up going out and sleeping with hot, but light-hearted guys with names like Kaden. One day, on a flight home, she meets Dennis (Ryan Hansen), a nerdy but sympathetic co-passenger, who is nothing to her (physically, she compares him to “an accountant who loves the missionary”) . They became quick friends and eventually it turns into something more, but Andrea begins to realize (with the help of her friend, an underutilized Margaret Cho) that Dennis may not be the one there. person he says he is.
The story that Good on Paper is based on (Schlesinger says the movie is about two-thirds accurate), is a story that was told both on Joe Rogan’s podcast as well as on a Comedy special. Central and it’s kind of endless “and then”. story that would have grabbed you if shared with you in person. On screen it’s a little less effective, mainly because trying to force it into the structure of a wide comedy it loses a bit of its edge. Schlesinger’s comedy is also a bit too smoothed out in the process, with the film playing it safe when we want it to go wild. There are brief flashes but nothing comes close to watching her on stage, where she has the freedom to go further, risk more, a freewheeling thrill to watch in her funniest and darkest moments.
The plot is paired with moments from its stand-up, Seinfeld-style, which, again, aren’t as funny as they should be, but provide some of the film’s sharper observations, like a little about how a singleton is told to feel grateful after a certain age for getting the bare minimum, as if something bad is always better than nothing. Schlesinger has said in interviews that she is keen on giving her character a certain sense of oneness that she believes is often lacking in female lead roles in comedies, which are crap in a way that seems too edgy and reducing. And that’s what she does, carefully avoiding certain clichés and conventions (unlike Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, there isn’t a whiff of conservative shame that ultimately tanked this movie), but we don’t know her. still not good enough and it’s too hard to see why she would fall in love with someone who is such a flashing assemblage of bright red flags. Much of this is due to Hansen’s performance, which is way too broad, as if he had just stepped on the set of a TBS sitcom that was canceled in the 2000s, never convincing us that he is someone who could appeal to anyone, let alone a confident and intelligent self-actor.
Everything goes off the rails in the worst possible way in the chaotic final act, as Schlesinger invents a ridiculous and increasingly ridiculous way of wrapping things up, with the truth of what happened proving far too pedestrian for the setting. that she created. You sometimes get the impression that by hanging on to that particular anecdote, she’s a little embarrassed, and you can glimpse a better project for her as an actor and a writer somewhere in the future, something that’s good for you. both on paper and on screen.