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+

FANTASY ISLAND (2020)

Directed By: Jeff Wadlow
Written By Jeff Wadlow, Chris Roach & Jillian Jacobs 
Based on the television series “FANTASY ISLAND” Created By: Gene Levitt  Cinematography: Toby Oliver 
Editor: Sean Albertson

Cast: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Mike Vogel, Austin Stowell, Kim Coates, Michael Rooker, Robbie Jones, Parisa Fitz-Hanley, Ian Roberts

The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives.


don’t know exactly who the audience for this film is supposed to be. Though whoever it is I am sure wasn’t envisioning a horror film.

The film sticks to the horns of fantasy island whereas the guests get to live out their fantasies only with some kind of twists involved that they didn’t foresee. 

The film is rather simplistic but thinks It’s clever by having a big reveal. Only to take away any credit it might have built up which was little, to begin with. As it feels generic. 

This might have been noteworthy if made in an earlier era. Which it feels like it comes from more than the 1990s. Though now instead of high concept it feels like a horror script thrown into a familiar tv show, for recognition and comes off as disposable and barely noteworthy.

It’s a shame because the film has a good cast. At least it gives actors who are usually relegated to supporting roles some room to shine even if the film is an ensemble. 

Should have been suspicious when seeing Michael Pena in the lead as he is a good actor, but always seems tied to these disappointing cinematic reboots of more niche television shows, that you would never imagine becoming films. 

Though the premises of fantasies seem kind of simple and then once the twists come. They seem to come from shows and movies we have seen before. Especially the revenge fantasy involving the bully from childhood. Where all of a sudden a monstrous huge surgeon becomes a slasher. 

I can understand if it was just trying to be the greatest common denominator entertainment but here other than the lush visuals of the landscapes. The film just feels like it is going through the motions where once everything. Seems tied together still feels like a waste of time. 

As even the fantasies come across as cheap. For a film based on the supposed imaginations of its characters. The film seems to have no imagination of its own

In the end, it feels like a cash In Done quickly and doesn’t even Impress with its gold visuals or fantasies 

Grade: F

LIKE A BOSS (2020)

like-a-boss

Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Sam Pitman & Adam Cole-Kelly
Story By: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel
Cinematography: Jas Shelton
Editor: Jay Deuby 


Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Jessica St. Clair, Ari Graynor, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy O. Yang, Karan Soni, Jacob Latimore, Natasha Rothwell  


Two friends with very different ideals start a beauty company together. One is more practical while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle.


This is a film that feels like a let down as it has a good cast but where as the trailers looked hilarious and fun. The film doesn’t rise to the occasion and really the only thing that keeps the film afloat is the cast.

As this film is the equivalent of a buddy comedy. Where there is an Intimacy between the two friends that isn’t romantic but are life partners in a way.

Tiffany Haddish again plays her familiar comedic type. Blunt sex crazed and honest with an attitude. Once you get used to her she doesn’t offer many surprises.

Rose Byrne plays her best friend and business partner and she seems to try to play more the emotional parts of her character and her problems but can be counted on to be funny when needed. This is kind of her out of her range. Even though over the years she has done the odd comedy.

The problem is that the film leaves plenty of set up’s for certain scenes that never seem to rise to the occasion of how funny they can be. Not are they as funny as they can be. Only in one scene does it rise to that level and that is due to Billy Porter then anyone else.

The film just feels haphazard and lazy. As it stays so plot oriented yet wants to have comedic highlights and just when those scenes seem to get started they either end or deflate. Which is disappointing especially when you have such a dependable cast.

Though it is nice to see a mostly female cast comedy where they actors are actually funny they just needed a better or stronger script.

Just as the side characters need more to do as they are quite funny but really are given nothing to do and you wonder why they are there at times. Especially their three other best friends who provide good laughs but anytime we see them it seems only to set up a comedic set piece.

It’s disappointing as the film has a lot of comedic energy and players but seems to falter giving them not as much to do as they could. As the cast tries to salvage the material.

Grade: D+