Good on Paper Parent Guide
This isn't the funniest romantic flick out there, but it has staying power.
Parent Movie Review
Andrea Singer (Iliza Shlesinger) is a stand-up comic trying to shift into acting, while also considering getting serious about dating. With seemingly perfect timing, Andrea meets Dennis (Ryan Hansen), an Ivy League educated hedge fund manager who seems too good to be true. As the two become friends and then a couple, cracks gradually appear in Dennis’ stories, and Andrea starts to wonder if Dennis is everything he says he is.
Good on Paper is written by Iliza Shlesinger and is apparently based on personal experience. I’m a fan of Shlesinger’s stand-up comedy, so I was excited to see what she would do in a different format. Although not the funniest rom-com I’ve ever watched, if you can even put it into that category, I do think it’s one that will stay with me for a long time. The story veers sharply away from well-trod tropes, and instead gives an uncomfortably real portrayal of the “nice guy” stereotype, misogyny, and perhaps sociopathy. This is not the movie you watch to get in a romantic mood, or to pine after the leading man. This is the movie you watch with your girlfriends while you swap war stories from the dating scene and consume unfathomable amounts of sugar.
Ryan Hansen is amazing in the role of Dennis. He toes the line between charming and creepy perfectly, without giving too much away too soon. Outside of horror flicks, I don’t think an actor has made me feel this uncomfortable in a long time, and I mean that in a good way. Margaret Cho, as Andrea’s friend, Margot, provides most of the laughs, but also a lot of the wisdom. She also weirdly grounds the film, even though she’s the most over the top character. Shlesinger herself gives a great performance as well. Her descent into self-doubt and grief is believable and heartbreaking, yet somehow restrained.
The structure of the film is worth mentioning. The main narrative is punctuated by clips of Andrea’s stand-up sets, which I think is well done and interesting. There’s also is some unnecessary voice-over narration by Andrea, which I found to be jarring. The acting in this production is good enough that audiences don’t need further exposition. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but it did take me out of the storytelling a couple times.
I quite liked Good on Paper, and I think it has important things to say. Although the film could spark some important conversations with teens on issues of misogyny, self-esteem, lying, and trusting your instincts, the negative content makes this film unsuitable for young audiences. But perhaps the messages around female friendships and the need for women to stick together might make this a good choice for a girl’s night in. That all said, there is a lot of swearing in this film, especially F-bombs, so take that into account when you’re deciding if this would be a good fit for your personal profanity comfort level. Just because this movie’s “good on paper” doesn’t guarantee that it will be a good choice for you.Directed by Kimmy Gatewood. Starring Iliza Shlesinger, Ryan Hansen, Rebecca Rittenhouse. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release June 23, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Good on Paper
Good on Paper
Rating & Content Info
Why is Good on Paper rated R? Good on Paper is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual references, and brief drug use and nudity
Violence: A man’s side gets trapped in a heavy door, which tears off some of his skin. The resulting wound is shown briefly.
Sexual Content: A man’s bare butt is seen. A man and woman kiss multiple times. A couple wake up in bed together, implying that they slept together. There are some sexual jokes about being “rock hard” and “getting off”. A painting depicting a bare-chested woman is seen in the background of one scene.
Profanity: Profanity of all levels is present. Over fifty uses of an extreme expletive, as well as over twenty mild and moderate expletives and another twenty uses of terms of deity are heard. Crude hand gestures are also used a number of times.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Many scenes take place in a bar, where adults are seen drinking, sometimes to excess. A man drinks so much he passes out. A woman smokes a cigarette. Two adults consume mushrooms and go to a club where they act inebriated.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Good on Paper Parents' Guide
Why does Dennis lie about himself? How does he view women and how does that view influence how he treats them?
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If you enjoy movies about the horrors of dating, there’s a lot to choose from. In Hitch, a men’s dating consultant suddenly finds himself wrong-footed as he pursues a woman who’s caught his interest. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days follows a couple who come together thanks to a pair of bets. The President’s daughter goes AWOL and gives a false name to the guy who comes to her rescue in Chasing Liberty. In You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan plays a woman who falls in love with a man over the internet. Little does she know that he owns the national bookstore chain that’s putting her independent shop out of business – and he wants to keep her from finding out.