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The One Thing Iliza Shlesinger Wants You To Get From The End Of Good On Paper - Exclusive

Contains spoilers for "Good on Paper."

Well-known stand-up comic Iliza Shlesinger draws upon her own life for material in the new Netflix movie "Good on Paper," mining her past for a fictionalized version of a bizarre former relationship — a relationship that was literally all based on lies. Shlesinger, who wrote the screenplay for the Netflix movie, stars as Andrea Singer, a comic whose aspirations as an actor and dating life seem to have hit a wall. But then she meets an awkward yet seemingly kind man named Dennis (Ryan Hansen). A Yale graduate and hedge fund manager, Dennis is romantically interested in Andrea from the start, but it takes her a while to finally reciprocate.

But the more Dennis is pressed on details about his life, the odder and more evasive his behavior becomes. A long-delayed meeting with his cancer-stricken mother keeps getting put off. He seems forgetful or even unaware of aspects of life at Yale. Prodded by her friend Margot (Margaret Cho), Andrea sets out to find the truth — and it turns out to be non-existent. Dennis, it turns out, is lying about everything: his job, his education, his mother, his finances, even his living arrangements. 

"I didn't have to embellish it at all," Shlesinger told Looper about the inspirational relationship, though she does say that about "two-thirds" of the movie is true, but that a lot of what happens in the third act was created for the film. So what happens at the end and what was Shlesinger's goal?

Good on Paper goes full fictional for its last third

Roughly two-thirds of the way through "Good on Paper," Margot gets Dennis so drunk at her bar that he passes out. The idea is to get him hammered enough to finally confess to his lies, but she and Andrea only end up tying him up and even giving him an accidental flesh wound on his side. Dennis admits to fabricating everything about his life, but turns the tables by having Andrea arrested for kidnapping and assaulting him. A lengthy court battle ends with a restraining order, which Andrea is happy to accept since she doesn't want Dennis near her anyway. And she still gets to let him know — on the stand, no less — how pathetic he is.

Andrea's ultimate revenge is using the money she got from selling a ring he bought her to rent out a billboard that features a photo of Dennis and the accompanying message: "THIS IS DENNIS KELLY ... HE'S A LIAR AND DID NOT GO TO YALE ... DO NOT DATE HIM."

Shlesinger wrote the ending to give the audience a win

Viewers don't know if Dennis ever sees the billboard — in the film, he disappears from his apartment, leaving all his things behind — and the truth is that the court case and the billboard did not happen in real life. But Shlesinger says she included the latter in the story to give the audience a sense of catharsis and closure. "I put that ending in there really for anybody who's unjustly been screwed over," she explained. "We're not talking like a relationship ends, but you didn't deserve it, didn't see it coming. I put it in there as vindication. I hope people would watch this rom-com/rom-con and be like, 'Yes! That one was for me,' at the end."

Shlesinger doesn't know what happened to the real-life "Dennis" either — "And I can actually tell you from the bottom of my heart ... I don't care" — but says she got her vindication just from writing the movie: "I was like, this is the only positive part — that I have this brilliant character that we get to bring to life. So it wasn't painful, and in the end it's all art and it's all funny, so it's okay."

"Good on Paper" is streaming now on Netflix.