Swen’s N’ Dobs // All or Nothing

Don Jon, a comedy written, directed by, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 500 Days of Summer), features a porn-obsessed New Jersey guy seeking love and satisfaction in spite of his addiction. Also starring Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Lucy) as Jon’s girlfriend Barbara, Julianne Moore (The Kids are Alright) and Tony Danza. Don Jon is available on Netflix instant.


Don Jon opens with a montage of advertisements and pageant footage—an overt commentary on the sexualization of women in mainstream media. Soon after, we meet the protagonist Jon, a lovable character in spite of his womanizing tendencies and extreme porn addiction. Gordon-Levitt’s Jon is exaggerated in every way: the New Jersey accent, his hypocritical road rage on the way to church, his “Hail Marys” whispered mechanically while lifting weights at the gym. Jon is not the only caricature we meet in the film. The gorgeous Barbara (Johansson) adores chick flicks, is disgusted by the idea of men doing housework, and refuses to have sex with Jon until he meets her family. The film has fun with its stereotypes, blurring the lines between true love and sexual infatuation, authenticity and dishonesty, romantic comedy and porn. Although the movie begins as satire, it leads in unexpected directions, ending with a finale both sweet and sincere. Perhaps the plot drags on a bit too long and the take-home message comes across as slightly heavy-handed, but overall Don Jon is enjoyable and unpredictable, lighthearted and frank.


I am shocked by how much I enjoyed this movie. Despite the constant pornography that streams across the screen, this movie is romantic and often made me smile (although that happened more toward the end of the movie). Jon starts the movie by listing all of the things that he loves in his life, among which include: family, church and porn. Jon himself seems to be a stereotype straight out of “Jersey Shore,” but with a little more depth and much less public drunkenness. He eventually meets Barbara, the most beautiful girl in the world, and slowly but surely, she changes him to become the man she wants. Surprisingly, Jon seems to have very few problems with these lifestyle changes, except he cannot stop watching porn. It becomes a regular part of his day and his life, wherein he feels like he is able to lose himself into the process. As Jon meets an older woman at his night class, things begin to change, sometimes for the worse, but ultimately for the better. While some aspects of the movie might seem rather vulgar, overall, Don Jon is a satisfying and sweet movie.