This movie is gross. The theme is gross. The accents are annoying and gross. Tony Danza in a wife-beater is really, really gross. I was repulsed in a very visceral way during almost every minute of this film. I’m glad I decided to watch it.
The titular Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt – more like Joseph Gordon LEAVE-it! As in LEAVE this movie! RIMSHOT! Some Mad Magazine-style hilarity there) is a Pauly D-type guy with a reputation as a Casanova. You can picture this character without even seeing the movie – he drives a muscle car, he has big pecs, his hair is always slicked back, etc etc. Unsurprisingly, the movie is set in New Jersey.
Can I ask – when did the state of New Jersey become cool? Is it because the obese governor goes on late-night talk shows? Is it because there’s a (noisy, crowded, expensive, storm-ravaged) beach there? New Jersey is to the rest of America what MLS is to sports – nobody likes it, nobody really sees it, but there seems to be a concerted effort to ram it down our throats. While we’re at it, when did Tony Danza become cool? How does he keep getting work?
Sorry. Anyway, Jon has sex with numerous women (which he “humorously” confesses to his priest throughout the movie), but what he really loves is pornography. When he meets Barbara (Scarrllett Johhannssonn), however, he falls head-over-heels for her. He gives up his womanizing and, because she really hates it, he tries to give up watching porn. Knowing that, you know what the big complication is – she finds out he still watches it by looking at his browser history, which he apparently had no idea about.
This twist is not only predictable but dumb, too. Why? Because there was a lengthy exchange earlier in the movie where Jon chides his dad (Tony Danza) for not knowing what TiVo is. So he’s aware of TiVo, but not that there’s a browser history? He owns a Mac! How does he not know about browser history?!?
While things are going south with Barbara, Jon meets Esther (Julianne Moore). Her character seems to have no purpose at first, but since she’s on the movie poster, it’s pretty obvious what happens. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll basically give everything away: Jon ends up with Esther in the end, because they “really connect” over the fact that her husband and son died in a car crash the previous year. Romance! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 33. Julianne Moore is 54. The intense sex scene between the two of them nearly gave me the dry heaves.
What inspired Joseph Gordon-Levitt to make a movie where the main issues are pornography and masturbation?* Why do we have to suffer through the horrendous Jersey accents? Has society degenerated so far that the exciting revelation for our hero is “meaningless sex isn’t good?” Even as he burns in Hell, I’m pretty sure Osama Bin Laden sees this movie as proof that he really was right about American culture.
The producer is named Ram Bergman, which is one of the coolest names I’ve ever seen.
People in this movie use the term “smash” as slang for having sex. That’s awkward, because I use “smash” as slang for taking a dump.
*I know, you could argue that the movie is about how porn sets up unrealistic expectations for guys just like romantic movies set them up for girls, etc… but the number of scenes devoted to JGL posted up at his laptop surely dwarf any that might have been spent developing a “deeper” theme.