Don Jon

Don Jon

donjon

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a guy who likes his routines. He goes to church and eats dinner with his family every Sunday, he works out, he goes dancing to pick up ladies, and he’s addicted to porn. He is caught up in the fantasy of the girls on the sites. He thinks that no real girl can be as good as those fantasy girls. He doesn’t see them as fantasy though. He treats the girls he picks up in clubs as if they are just real-life versions of what he sees online and then gets disappointed when they don’t act the same way as those girls. That’s where he isn’t mature enough to realize what he’s missing from his life. He thinks he has it all and he’s happy about it, until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson).

She’s different. She makes him want to try an actual relationship. He tries to give up his porn for her. He also starts taking night classes for her since she wants him to be more than just a bartender. That’s where they really have problems in their relationship. Neither one of them really knows the other one and wants something unrealistic from the other one. He wants to mold her into one of his porn girls. She wants to mold him into her perfect man and future father of her children.

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While taking night classes, he meets an older woman named Esther who has her own problems. They start an odd relationship, but she does wake him up a bit and he eventually starts to grow up. She makes him realize what he wants out of life or at least what he really wants now. She really shakes him out of his routines. The way this movie is set up, I was really expecting it to go one way, but it went another. It was more of a coming of age movie, but for a guy that should have grown up a bit more by this point in his life.

I liked how Joseph Gordon-Levitt really made himself look like one of those New Jersey guys that care too much about working out and putting so much product in their hair that you can’t touch it. As an attractive guy, he really made himself look unattractive in this role (at least to me he looked unattractive compared to how he normally looks). Scarlett Johansson was fabulous as Barbara. She did a fantastic job playing a woman living in her own fantasy world, expecting a guy to do anything for his girl and not really living in reality. It was easy to see why a guy would fall for her, but I found some of the demands she made of Jon really out of left field. My favorite part was that he wasn’t supposed to clean his own place since he was an adult. He needed to hire someone. She really wanted to be high class or at least look the part.

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His scenes with his family were priceless. The way Jon was going, he was going to grow up to be just like his dad. The way the scenes were set up with Jon and his dad (played by Tony Danza) wearing the same wife beater shirt at dinner were perfect. His mom just wanted him to get married and give him grandkids. She was thrilled when he had a serious relationship and didn’t really care if she was the right girl for him or not. His sister was the only one that seemed to really know Jon and paid attention to what was really going on, even though she spent most of the movie texting. I wish we had been given more Brie Larson, who played his sister. I laughed every time I saw her texting away in the background or looking up randomly during dinner. You could read her thoughts and reactions to whatever was being said around the table, but she didn’t really speak up until the end. It would have been nice to have a scene with just her and her brother away from everyone else.

I really liked the way the movie ended. It wasn’t some perfect ending like in a romantic movie. It was a lot more realistic. It wasn’t a life changing revelation, but I thought his character grew up a bit. There was some forward momentum. I was impressed by this film. It had a lot more going on than I expected going in.

Grade: B+

 

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