Kimmy Gatewood’s mostly true story, based on a lie; Good on Paper is funny in a sadly real way.
The film is based on a horrible event that occurred in Iliza Shlesinger’s real-world dating life, whereby a dude she dates for a year turns out to be a compulsive liar, having lied from the day they met
Andrea, played by Iliza is a comedian, looking to find her way into the acting world. After a bad audition, she takes a flight where she meets the charming Dennis, a hedge fund manager. The two become instant friends and Dennis appears to tick all the boxes. After a while of enjoying their unlikely friendship, Dennis drops the proposition of being a couple.
There’s just one thing missing, Andrea’s not attracted to him, romantically.
This was so refreshing to see on screen, a reflection of reality. Most of us ladies will have had this before, right? …
Wait, let me rephrase that …
Most of us, whatever gender, have experienced this.
We’ve met someone, (or have been the person) who, on paper is everything desirable in a partner but don’t possess that ingredient for a spark. And it’s a bummer. I recently went on a tinder date with a dude who I talked to for hours about films and music, yet we never delved into the personal stuff that sets off that spark. The flirt zone didn’t exist for us. It was a shame. However, I knew this was a possibility because I didn’t necessarily swipe right on tinder because I fancied the dude, it was mostly that, well…he was the least unattractive of the candidates that day (and he had a funny bio).
I know what you’re thinking, ‘well you’ve got a nice new friend now, no?’ I have friends, who I didn’t meet under the guise of being potential romantic suitors.
The restaurant scene where Dennis asks Andrea to be his girlfriend is kinda creepy. When she says no, he claims he ‘knows her better than she knows herself at this point’ – real creep vibes. His reasoning is that he is ‘much better quality’ than the guys she usually dates. This is the thing friends, even if that’s true, the hard knuckled fact that is smacking Andrea in the face every time she even remotely goes to that option in her brain – is that she’s not attracted to him.
And this is the point that escapes Dennis. He could be a billionaire philanthropist with the biggest…heart, she’s still not feeling it. The reason Andrea is lured in throughout the film is because he’s just…not a dick. And people, for the love of everything that is not uber depressing…we don’t have to settle for someone because they simply aren’t horrible. We have to desire more than that, right?
Moreover, they should preferably also not be a compulsive liar. As Dennis and Andrea’s relationship progresses, more red flags appear, concerning Andrea’s best friend badass, Margot, (get yourself a Margot people, we all need one!)
After one too many weird answers about his house, Andrea is determined to get to the bottom of all the weirdness that doesn’t add up.
Andrea shares the narration with the film through clips of her stand-up gig, where she’s retelling this whole charade of a relationship. This actually helps the story along as, whilst we’re taking a breather listening to Andrea’s gig, we’ve got our main and a side dish – these two situations complement each other perfectly. We kind of know something is going awry, but what it is, isn’t yet clear.
What I also really enjoyed about the movie is that it deals with Andrea confronting herself about her downfalls, separate from her dating life. It is insinuated by Dennis late in the film that Andrea is somehow failing at life and at a real crossroads, when in actuality – she’s doing ok, it’s all about how one introduceses themselves to a stranger.
On paper, Andrea is very successful. In reality, she is very successful. Yet, she’s human and is always craving more, bigger, better. Although she has never been concerned with marriage and other forms of ceonventiality, there is a little voice at the back of our heads sometimes that says, ‘well maybe I do want that?’ This is a nice unique touch for the rom-com as it features a female comedian dealing with feelings that kinda go against her feminism. Her jealousy of fellow acting peer, Serena reaches a cresendo at the same time as the cracks in her relationship with Dennis begin to form.
Sometimes it takes something horrible happening to you, to make you realise who you are and who you want to be. The movie is silly and funny, and heartbreaking at one point. But overall, it’s a moralistic tale, a dating horror story if you will.
No one is that perfect. Be pessimistic until proven otherwise, that’s my motto.