I saw the film in a full theater where my lack of knowledge about the film seemed to be the norm. There were college girls there to support the man that had been their crush since “Third Rock from the Sun”—Tommy hit his growth spurt—and college men who were intrigued by the idea of a porn-focused film. All of us settled in for what we were sure would be a funny and sexy film. The movie star Gordon-Levitt in his first screenwriter and director roles as the titular Jon.
Jon is a dedicated son, church member, gym goer, and porn fan. He admits in the beginning of the film that a real woman (he doesn’t use as polite a term) can never be as good as porn in his opinion. He goes on to list the shortcomings of actual women, you know, our wants and needs that aren’t just pleasing him, which get in the way of his enjoyment of the act. Jon is clearly a self-centered and superficial person who views everything as a means to an end, even his focus on his family’s church is shown to be another short term fix, a way to wipe his soul clean the way you wipe down a table; more a simple matter of maintenance then faith.
Then Jon meets Barbra; the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson at her New Jersey finest. Up until this point in the movie it’s exactly what everyone expected. Sex, porn, and pretty people. We were all taken by surprise by what Gordon-Levitt had up his sleeve. The second half of the film delves into the ideas of love that our society pushes on us at every turn; from barely clad women in advertisements, to every romantic comedy ever made. Companies are selling us ideas about love and intimacy and we are internalizing them without even realizing. The film becomes almost painfully honest, with Jon starting to wonder how someone learns how to have a meaningful relationship if they don’t know. For everyone expecting a write off comedy, the moments of soul searching and honest examination of relationships made the movie harder to sit through. At some points, the movie becomes so honest that it’s almost difficult to watch without cringing. If you aren’t the type to become squeamish in the face of vulnerability, and the awkward actions of the oblivious then this movie will be a wonderful experience that will incite questions about the nature of relationships and the ways people approach them. I strongly recommend it. That said, you will see breasts and behinds so, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT bring your mom.