GOOD ON PAPER (2021)

Directed By: Kimmy Gatewood
Written By: Iliza Shlesinger
Cinematography: Giles Dunning 
Editor: Kyla Plewes 

Cast: Iliza Shlesinger, Ryan Hansen, Margaret Cho, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Beth Dover, Kimia Behpoornia, Matt McGorry, Alison Becker 

After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful and possibly too good to be true.


this film has the right premise which is based on a true experience of the star of the film Ilza Schlesinger 

So that the high concept premise works but the scenes feel somewhat flat or trying too hard to be madcap but keep an emotional heft and explore the main character’s mentality that it is trying too hard and too much. 

Which then makes the film also play kind of more like a stupid comedy aimed at a female audience.

The film is obviously a star vehicle for stand-up comedian iliza who plays a version of herself and it explores her issues romantically and professionally. As she seems to always End up with good-looking jerks and this guy charms her more by seemingly being himself but then she discovers he seems To be a pathological liar.

The film then busies itself with her and her friend played by Margaret Cho trying to catch and expose him. Luckily Cho steals all of her scenes and you wish there were more of her in the film.

By the time we get to the third act, the film takes a turn of standing up against toxic masculinity. As the boyfriend character ends up being a fake nice guy and less of a misguided romantic and it has a message of wine supporting one another instead of being in competition in general and worse for the pleasure of men. 

All good messages. One just wishes it was told In a better project. As this one comes off as indulgent and has sparks of humor. That never quite catches fire. So that it feels monotonous and almost like a sitcom. Where you are left wondering. How much evidence do you need to be convinced and why are you still bothering? 

The Jokes and situations fall flat constantly and even the jokes seem more than a little grating and awkward. At least the film seems to know it’s low aiming and not that serious.

Ilza is an appealing actress and a humorous stand-up with a unique point of view but here it feels like the middle of the road, not enough bite or point of view to give it the stakes it seeks, and also the humor is too lightweight to make any kind of impression. It’s like having a Twinkie instead of the big cookie 

As this is a movie where mostly the secondary characters and bit role players are more interesting in their little amount of screen time over the leads who are in most of the movie. 

Grade: D+

STEP SISTERS (2018)

Directed By: Charles Stone III 
Written By: Chuck Hayward 
Cinematography By: Christopher Baffa 
Editor: Matt Friedman 

Cast: Megalyn Eichikunwoke, Lyndon Smith, Gage Golightly, Eden Sher, Marque Richardson, Alessandra Torresani, Naturi Naughton, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Matt McGorry, Robert Curtis Brown


Jamilah has her whole life figured out. She’s the president of her sorority, captain of their champion step dance crew, is student liaison to the college dean, and her next move is on to Harvard Law School. She’s got it all, right? But when the hard-partying white girls from Sigma Beta Beta embarrass the school, Jamilah is ordered to come to the rescue. Her mission is to not only teach the rhythmically-challenged girls how to step dance, but to win the Steptacular, the most competitive of dance competitions. With the SBBs reputations and charter on the line, and Jamilah’s dream of attending Harvard in jeopardy, these outcast screw-ups and their unlikely teacher stumble through one hilarious misstep after another. Cultures clash, romance blossoms, and sisterhood prevails as everyone steps out of their comfort zones.


This is a cute film that tries to say something. About diversity and races coming together. Now of course you know what this type of film you are going to get so if Looking for something more deep or artistic you know you aren’t going to find it here.

If you are looking for something light, fun, and mildly Funny this is the film for you. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of BRING IT ON for its light yet biting attitude.

It feels a bit like a combination of films like bring it on and the dance movie series like STEP UP only less focused on romance and more focused on stepping.

I enjoyed the film making the black sorority characters threatening but not villains and open-minded.

You won’t believe any of the endings this Film goes for feel good and promotes equality, but the actions of the characters just feel false but again this is the type of film where you just have to accept it as it isn’t Shakespeare.

The film is written by Chuck Hayward who is a successful tv-writer he writes for DEAR WHITE PEOPLE and I recognize plenty of cast members from that show sprinkled throughout as well as actors who worked on his previous projects.

Everyone seems perfectly cast as this has the fun of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE but not the impact or heaviness when it comes to the story.

I am happy to see actress Megalyn Eichikunwoke finally getting a lead role after seeing her play good supporting performances in movies like DAMSELS IN DISTRESS. Here she shines and shows she has star quality.

The race material is fun and is kept in the foreground for moments and ongoing plots but as the film goes along it melts away and just shows people are people and characters have many different shades and levels.

One point I did like was her having an overly sensitive liberal Caucasian boyfriend who goes over the low. In his liberal beliefs gives an attitude that blacks always need help or a handout. His heart is in the right place but he can’t see how he is minorly insulting.

It’s also interesting in the beginning the character is seen as more down with her race she is in an interracial relationship and when she finally opens herself to others and other races she is interested in an African American character for dating.

This is a film that makes the action happen fast, as to not bore the audience. it gets raunchy but PG-13 raunchy. So it is perfect for teens and good for an afternoon movie to have fun with and put you In a good mood probably forgetting it soon after. Quality enough though. It’s a film that might be more fun on the big screen but it is a Netflix release. Made for that type of home audience. As studios rarely put money in low to mid-budget projects anymore especially with teen comedies. Where it is more of a minor gamble.

Though there seems to be a drought of films such as these that seem built in to have crossover appeal. It would seek more natural theatrical release as it does provide the familiarity of material and broad stereotypes that it seeks to disprove and have fun with. Meant to open the minds of the characters and maybe even some audience members.

Grade: C+