A very sad movie disguised as a comedy, but I want to also add that it’s a very well-made film by Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing his first job as a director. Don Jon stars Gordon-Levitt as the title character, a smooth-talking bartender who beds a new girl every week but constantly finds greater satisfaction with porn. This is a sex addiction movie because porn is a sex addiction, and it is one of the more candid and upfront ones. Hundreds of jagged little porn clips are embedded into the film, as over-saturated as Jon’s own porn-addled mind.
Very cocky and strutting, Jon doesn’t lack confidence in the real world. But he doesn’t surround himself around people of excellence, either. Jon also comes from a dysfunctional but uproarious Italian family, with a dad (Tony Danza) into sports, a mom (Glenne Headly) that wants to see him get married, and a sister (Brie Larson) addicted to staring at her phone. But his most devoted relationship is with his laptop of porn. He admits he even gets hard when he hears the little Microsoft bleep sounds.
Romance has been out of Jon’s repertoire until he meets a bombshell named Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who becomes the first regular girl he masturbates to. He’s only been led there because Barbara won’t sleep with him until he goes to adult education school, meets her family, and proves himself with sincere intent. She catches him with porn, and from there, he lies about it. He chooses to keep his addiction a secret from her.
Digesting huge amounts of porn is depressing, Jon figures out, because real life is never as awesome and visually insatiable as the girls he lusts for on the internet. Barbara is a perfect 10 to his eyes, and that doesn’t even matter. It’s only Julianne Moore (annoying at first, by the end is touching), as a fellow student, who teaches Jon the pleasure of losing oneself while pleasuring another person.
Yes, I indeed laughed on a few occasions and was even moved by Jon’s no-bulls candor of the things he likes about his own world. I do wonder how movies like this even get rated R, since I feel some callow teenagers will watch this, then run home and overdose on a night of internet porn. “Don Jon” should be NC-17, and be recommended to twenty and thirty-something males, who have experienced themselves how porn has corrupted the very sense of natural sex and have regretted knowing it.
90 Minutes. Rated R.
DRAMA / SEX ADDICTION / WEEKEND REFLECTION MOVIE