This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Good on Paper, so it will contain major spoilers.
Good on Paper, Netflix’s newest foray into romantic comedies, follows Andrea (Iliza Shlesinger playing a version of herself), a stand-up comedian and actor that meets a seemingly lovely fellow named Dennis (Ryan Hansen). Their relationship, which at first looks idyllic, ends up being built over a mountain of lies, deceits, and manipulation, all of which are resting on the shoulders of Dennis. Though most of this can be seen coming from the opening twenty minutes of the film, the climax changes location and tone, as the two meet again in a courthouse, far from the original airplane that started this relationship.
Netflix’s Good on Paper — the ending explained
After Andrea learns of Dennis’s constant lies, realizing she actually knows very little about the man she loves, she and her friend, Margot (Margaret Cho), decide to play a little trick on the unsuspecting liar. Margot gets him drunk, and the two tie him up to a chair, accidentally slicing open his skin and then cauterizing the wound. He admits to everything, as the jig certainly was up, before walking out of the room, likely never to see them again.
Except they do see him again after he charges Andrea with kidnapping and assault. In the courtroom, when everything seems to be going Dennis’s way, Andrea gets on the stage and makes a statement regarding her decisions. It’s a plea for the jury and the judge to see this relationship from her perspective and a monologue, a good one, she says, that attempts to sum up the real feelings that Shlesinger likely had during this experience.
And in the end, no one goes to jail. Andrea receives a court-mandated restraining order to stay away from Dennis, something she’s more than happy to oblige. Margot seems to be dating Dennis’s old roommate. As for Dennis, he flees town, with all the other characters unsure where he went. Andrea even puts up a billboard of him on Sunset Boulevard telling the world that he’s a liar, and for good measure, that he didn’t go to Yale.
Andrea looks to be on a better path after shooting in a TV show called Space Cadet, patching up her other friendships, and regaining her life. It’s a welcome sign after nearly 90 minutes of frustration and deceit from a man she loved.
Shlesinger herself has used the story as part of her comedy act over the last few years, turning the wretched experience into a joke, one that’s seen throughout the film. Clips of her stand-up show her discussing the incident to lots of laughter from the audience, and it seems like she’s moved on from the manipulative relationship.