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Movie Review: Is Iliza Shlesinger's 'Good On Paper' Great On Netflix?

Good on Paper Iliza Schlesinger Andrea Singer Ryan Hanson Dennis Kelly Netflix

Sometimes the best way to get over a bad relationship is to get a chance to have the last laugh. That is exactly what stand-up comedian Iliza Schlesinger has set out to do with her brainy, hilarious, and thought-provoking romantic comedy, “Good on Paper.” Based on Schlesinger’s real-life personal experience, the movie begins by telling viewers that what they are about to see is a mostly true story based on a lie.

And what a lie it is. Unlike “Dirty John,” Iliza Schlesinger homes in on the dark comedy of getting taken for a ride. It is worth noting that nothing else should be said as it kind of ruins the surprise of what transpires during “Good on Paper.” In other words, please avoid watching the trailer that Netflix provides on its preview page. It works hard to give way too much away.

So, keeping the surprise alive, here is what you need to know. Andrea Singer (Iliza Schlesinger) is a stand-up comedian trying to have her big break in the acting world. During her return from a tough audition, she strikes up a conversation with a guy (a convincing Ryan Hanson) at the airport. From there, the question of if someone can truly be too good to be true comes into play.

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On that note, “Good on Paper” opens with Iliza Schlesinger giving a hilariously on-point monologue during a stand-up performance. It is brutally accurate, and from there, the humor just keeps rolling in as the relatable hits just keep coming, offering a knowing nod and chuckle. Yes, it is funny because there moments of reality that are so incredibly accurate that you just have to laugh.

Related: Movie Review: Netflix Comedy ‘The Wrong Missy’ Gets A Lot Right

Anyone who has dipped their baby toe in the dating pool probably has their share of bad stories. For the most part, movies and television tend to highlight the good parts of an individual finding someone who appears perfect. However, if there is a negative take on the experience, those nightmarish encounters tend to be left to the thriller genre.

Here, Iliza Schlesinger keeps it real regarding searching for modern romance and trying to ignite a thriving Hollywood career. Neither task is easy. For her part, Schlesinger shines with her script and in her performance, which should mark a breakthrough for the comedian. It could be for Schlesinger what “Something About Mary” was for Cameron Diaz.

Interestingly, the first time I recall seeing Iliza Schlessinger in a movie was last year’s intense Netflix drama “Pieces of a Woman,” a film in stark contrast to “Good on Paper.” In “Pieces of a Woman,” Schlesinger plays the sister of Oscar-nominated Vanessa Kirby’s character. Yet, even in that limited dramatic role, Schlesinger shined with what she was given in it, and after seeing her latest movie, it was clearly not a one-off.

Cut to “Good on Paper,” and Iliza Schlessinger’s screen presence is in full swing yet again. She nails many of the nuanced moments as Andrea Singer, and that is not all. Schlesinger and Margaret Cho give movie viewers one of the best female buddy chemistries in recent memory in another impressive move. Hopefully, this is not their last team-up.

Individually, Margaret Cho electrifies every scene that she is in, elevating everyone she shares the screen with. Between Cho and Schlessinger, “Good on Paper” almost seems too good to be true itself. After all, comedies are tricky to pull off to satisfying levels. Thankfully, what director Kimmy Gatewood crafts manages to be just that.

Rating: 7.5/10

“Good on Paper” is now streaming on Netflix alongside a lot of other worthy-to-watch movies.

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