On Friday night I went over to the only place that felt appropriate to watch Don Jon, Hoboken, New Jersey. So I put on my wife beater, got myself a nice sandweeech (with a little salami, little gabagool, little sopressata, and of course some fresh mutz) at Vito’s on Washington Street, and headed over to the theater.
Going into this movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean it’s about porn, sex, “guidos”, and New Jersey in that order and wait it’s written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt? I mean what’s the kid from “3rd Rock from the Sun” going to contribute on any of those subjects? But the previews looked funny, that broad Scarlett Johannsen is one fine piece of…. Let me ASSk you a question. Where did Tony Danza come from in this movie?? Anyway… enough schtick… Am I funny? Funny how? Funny like a clown? What am I here to amuse you? Oh wait, maybe I am… so onto the review.
The basic plot of this movie is ridiculously simple. Jon (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), is a porn obsessed bartender in New Jersey who takes down a new chick every week, because he can’t find any girl that lives up the fictitious ideals that pornography sets up. He hits the gym daily, parties every week, bangs a new girl, then goes to church with his family every Sunday to confess his sins. But every day, usually multiple times a day, the unsatisfied Jon heads to his computer to check out www.pornhub.com ‘s latest updates. That is until he meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johannson) who is the first girl to ever not just give it up to Jon on the first night. Barbara ends up using her feminine charms, and withholding of sex, to get Jon to try and live up to her own misguided conceptions of the perfect man (who she perceives is the typical guy from every RomCom). Their relationship hits no snags, including her forcing him to go take night classes to become more than a bartender, until she catches him cheating on her with… PORN!!!
Now the point of this entire movie is to discuss how absolutely unrealistic our ideals have become (both male and female), due to the way TV/Internet/Media have shaped our visions of the perfect mate. It shows how younger people just can’t connect normally anymore, and everyone wants to tweak, change, improve everything in other people without ever really connecting with anyone. Because to connect with someone you need to care enough about them to accept who they are as they already are. However, the characters are soooo stereotypical north jersey that it takes away from this deeper thought. I mean Jon doesn’t even notice the bored look on the face of every girl he takes home as he pounds away like a jack rabbit. That is until he meets Julianne Moore, who plays an older woman in Jon’s night school class, and kind of points out how bored everyone must be (just like a good older woman!).
Listen, this movie is a great first effort from JGL, but ultimately it just falls a bit short in every area. It’s like every aspect from plot, to characters, to humor, to even acting is like a solid 7 (to use their girl rating scale).
- JGL is funnish as Jon, and I do think the movie is very well directed.
- Johannson is good in her best italian Jessica Rabbit routine. Her selfie filled facebook account is soooo on point
- Julianne Moore plays a great broken down but still cool older woman
- Tony Danza is probably hands down the scene stealer of the movie, especially in his first time meeting Johannson
But that’s the thing, everything about the movie is funnish, smartish, and just leaves you going, “Ehh it’s good, yea I mean it’s good”. Much like with sex, if you have to walkout telling yourself it was good, it probably wasn’t THAT good. It’s a shame really, because it’s definitely a movie that really could have been great. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is good and entertaining it’s just not great. It’s going to be a good flick to watch at home on a snowy Sunday in February with your significant other, but I don’t think I’d recommend going to see it at the theaters. Not to mention you’ve got to be very careful what girl you bring to see a movie like this because SOME, not all, but some girls will be totally turned off by all the porn clips put into this movie.
One last quick point – the North Jersey stereotypical guido that JGL portrays is both ridiculous and unfortunately fairly accurate. I’m not saying that everyone in north jersey is like that, but if you grew up in the NY Metro area then you definitely know at least a handful of people that really fit into that caricature. And to me, it’s knowing people like that, that makes this movie a bit funnier.