Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just plain likeable. Don’t agree? Have you not seen the wildly popular lip syncing bit he did on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Are you not part of his nearly three million Twitter followers where he tweets his support for artists of all genres? His star status is subdued tabloid-wise, but his true fan appeal is rising.
The fact that JGL is so likeable and good-looking (in a boyish sort of way) makes him able to get away with making a movie that is about one young man’s shameless addiction to porn. Yes, supposedly, it’s about (Don) Jon realizing there is more to life than porn, but there is no deeper meaning to derive from the film. It’s just raunchy, off-the-wall fun.
Jon is a Jersey boy devoted to his family, his church, his apartment, and his porn. Not all necessarily in that order. We know this because his dedication to all four is on repeat throughout the movie: the simple elements that make up his life. He goes out night after night bringing home a different girl, hence, his nickname. Then, he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a “dime,” when he pulls a robbery (see: Jersey Shore term from stealing a girl from under your buddy’s nose) who he devoutly turns his affection towards, but still, he can’t seem to shake his porn addiction.
Barbara meets his family, coaxes Jon into taking night class as she grooms him for domestic living but his primal urge is drawn to that of the warm glow from his laptop that provides him unlimited um, usage.
The over-the-top, machismo-filled personas that both he and his father (Tony Danza) represent are made to be even funnier because you know that people like that actually exist. Jon’s church confessions for his repeated sins are also funny moments, especially when he’s disappointed in the penance he is given. He’s shocked that priests do not follow a mathematical formula based on much or how little porn and sex acts he engages in.
Esther, a woman he meets in night class, causes an interesting interruption in Jon’s routine. He first encounters her as she is bawling in the hallway and then a second time when she catches him watching porn on his phone and makes fun of him for it. First she starts as an annoyance, but later she turns into someone that intrigues Jon. Perhaps more than his triple x-rated habit?
The movie was written, directed and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and honestly, halfway through I wondered if he hadn’t written the script just to amuse himself and make out with Scarlett Johannson. It’s Esther as the weird “third wheel” to the story who forces the movie to dive into more than just how much porn Jon can download in a day. Despite the risque subject matter, the film was more cheeky and less smarmy, mostly accredited to JGL’s attractive, man child appeal.
Final words: Didn’t love it, but do love him. At ninety minutes, it’s short enough to not outlast its welcome.