A Review: Don Jon

Credit to impawards.com

Credit to impawards.com

Warning: Spoiler alerts ahead!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon going over my list of movies for the year that I really want to see, but had yet to watch. One of those happened to be Don Jon – and as of yesterday, I can officially cross that film off of the list. While I was highly anticipating viewing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directing debut, the movie – despite Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s rippling pectorals – turned out to be less than I had hoped for.

The film centers around Gordon-Levitt’s character Jon Martello – a man that cares about eight things: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, and last, but definitely not least (as the movie proves), his porn. Don Jon also stars Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. Johansson as Barbara Sugarman – unsurprisingly, plays Martello’s love interest, and slightly more surprisingly, Julianne Moore as Esther winds up as Martello’s final love interest in the film. Yeah, that one had me scratching my head, too. Throughout the movie, we come to find Martello as somewhat self-involved, a little narcissistic and “one-sided,” and greatly addicted to pornography. At one point, he winds up masturbating to the clips on pornhub.com 35 times in one week. For real, let’s slow your roll there, champ.

Overall, the movie includes a bit of romance, some comedy, and a whole lot of sex. When I first viewed the trailer for the movie, I expected to laugh a lot more than I did. Instead, I ended up slightly confused and massively turned on. Again, not so much to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, but purely based on the amount of porn you get to see throughout the film. While he is subconsciously addicted to porn, Martello also has no problem scoring women in real life, but he finds that he gets greater pleasure and sexual satisfaction from watching clips rather than the real thing. And his overplayed cockiness helps him along the way. And then Barbara Sugarman comes in and changes – or tries to change, I should say – everything. Johannson’s character tells Jon that pornography is “disgusting” and that she never wants him to watch it again. I mean, after all, real men don’t need pornography. According to her character, real men also do not need to clean their own “pads” as they should just hire housekeepers for those not so sexy tasks. My problem with the film primarily lies with Scarlett Johannson’s character.

For starters, no, I was not jealous that she was constantly making out with and getting groped by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but rather the film tried to make her out to be this smart, bright, and game-changer kind of woman. Spoiler alert, she is not. She’s bitchy, extraordinarily demanding of the male species in general, and a smidge psychotic. And by a smidge, I mean a lot. Gordon-Levitt could have improved his script by not only ending up with Esther, but also showing little miss Barbara Sugarman adorning a straight jacket, locked in a psych ward, staring at a padded wall muttering about how vacuuming isn’t sexy…or something like that.

Johansson’s character starts off as completely sexy and irresistible, but then she reveals a far more crazy side. My main issue is that she demands that any man who is a “real” man should not EVER watch pornography. Say what, Sugarman? Maybe I’m just a little too liberal when it comes to my relationships, but it never has once bothered me that the men I have dated watch porn. I don’t view it as cheating, and I have never been in denial of the fact that men (or anyone, for that matter) watch porn. It’s a fact of life. And we should all just accept it and get over it. Or do what I do and embrace it. No, I haven’t reached Jon Martello status, but every once in awhile, it’s fun to get off to. And I see no harm and no foul in that. While yes, in the movie, Gordon-Levitt’s character had an actual problem and was addicted to pornography, I do not think watching some movies or clips here and there would actually cause any relationship or dating issues – unless you let it. In which case I would love for you to explain your logic to me. Because again, head scratcher.

Ultimately, the film is supposed to be about a man who winds up developing unrealistic expectations of women due to his addiction to pornography, but then undergoes some character development in which he can discover the true meaning of intimacy and love with a woman not on his computer screen, but alas, the film falls short of doing that. Yes, Martello ends up admitting he has a problem, and Esther helps him through his issues, but it never comes across as genuine. While Johannson’s and Gordon-Levitt’s characters have true chemistry on screen, watching Moore and Gordon-Levitt together is like watching a mother and her son. Yes, it’s awkward and a tad uncomfortable. With some laughable parts and the eye candy that is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the film isn’t a total dud, but the moral of the movie is this: embrace the porn, not the addiction.

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