Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a working-class bartender who lives in New Jersey. He is quite pleased with his life which consists of daily doses of pornography from the Internet, chronic masturbation, and trips to the gym, then weekends at clubs with his hedonistic buddies who watch him consistently pick up the hottest woman in the place and head home for sex with her. Then, on Sundays he goes to mass and as a good Catholic confesses his sins — detailing his sex life in all its variety. Jon does his prayer-reciting penance at the gym during his workout.
His life is put into turnaround when he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who rates a "dime" (a maximum score out of 10) among his male friends. She flirts with Jon, dances with him, but then leaves him in a lurch. He tracks her down and actually feels that he is breaking one of his rules by being so attracted and attached to her. Despite her ripe sexual allure, this gum-chewing blonde insists that they go slowly. During a dinner at Jon's home, she meets the family and scores points with his mother (Glenne Headley) who says "she's the one" and his father (Tony Danza) who can't believe his son has landed such a fine "piece of ass."
When Barbara finally agrees to sex with Jon, he is quite disappointed. In the middle of the night, he retreats to another room for a digital experience of erotic pleasure. Barbara sees what is going on and almost leaves him on the spot for betraying her. But Jon knows that for him, porn is definitely preferable to real sex. He returns to his old ways and when she discovers the extent of his addiction, she leaves him.
Don Jon is a triple effort by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the lead role and has written and directed the film. The jaunty voice-over of the lead character is designed to appeal to randy teenagers and college males who think of the opposite sex as objects of desire. There are certain sections of the drama that are genuinely funny and other parts where Gordon-Levitt pushes things over-the-top such as his depiction of Jon's family in New Jersey.
After being ordered by Barbara to attend night school in order to improve his chances of moving up in the world, this bartender meets Esther (Julianne Moore), a middle-age survivor who takes a fancy to him and winds up passing on some wisdom and insights into women's sexuality. Watching their coupling together, we were reminded of the tantric teachings about mutual desire. We commend Gordon-Levitt for creating a movie that takes within its wide embrace the crass single's scene in New Jersey and the healing ministrations of a woman who understands the sacred dimensions of sex as a holistic act of healing and fulfillment.
Special features on the DVD include HitRECord shorts.