New Jersey boy Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), he tells us in a voice over, cares about his body, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, his porn. Yes, Jon is a pornography addict, and there lies his problem. Things rock along for him until he meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johanssen), (the "most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life," with heavy emphasis on the thing. Their relationship deepens, as much as someone as superficial as Jon can allow that, to the point where Barbara convinces him to enroll in night school to improve himself. Where he meets smart, older Esther (Julianne Moore), who helps him become a person and not just a watcher of porn.
Here's what the critics are saying:
"Which is directly to the point of this deceptively sincere movie about masculinity and its discontents that Mr. Gordon-Levitt, making a fine feature directing debut, shapes into a story about a young man’s moral education." Manohla Dargis, the New York Times
"Gordon-Levitt keeps things riotous for the film's first hour, and if he eases into an ending that's a little Hollywood-standard, after having so much fun tweaking form and content, I'm guessing audiences will cut him some slack. Just as Don Jon is learning the ropes, after all, so is the guy who dreamed him up." Bob Mondello, NPR
"The film could have come off as a frankly smutty exercise. The images on Jon's laptop are explicit, often degrading. But the lurid visuals serve a larger goal. So does the broad ethnic humor. Don Jon is a feminist-leaning comedy about the pitfalls of objectification and the way media images influence and distort expectations for real-life relationships. Gordon-Levitt, who has been acting since the age of 6, has made a satirical, assured, darkly comedic and even poignant film that has a fair amount to say." Claudia Puig, USA Today
" 'Don Jon' is the writing and directing debut of its star, 32-year-old Gordon-Levitt, and it's a fresh, funny, thoroughly off-color and winningly off-the-wall film. It might seem surprising from a guy whose credits include "The Dark Knight Rises" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," but fans have long suspected that his heart belonged to small-scale labors of love like "Brick" and "50/50." His movie is tough to categorize -- a sensitive sex comedy with glimmers of the downbeat classic "Carnal Knowledge"? -- and that's exactly what makes it such an unexpected treat." Rafer Guzman, Newsday
"But Gordon-Levitt enlivens Don Jon with such a sense of swagger, as a director, writer and actor, that the film feels fresh. He gets strong performances from his actors, including Tony Danza as his no-nonsense dad and especially Moore as the complicated, conflicted Esther. The suddenly omnipresent Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now) has a small but funny part as Jon’s sister." Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star Telegram
"Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a young actor who’s acquired much goodwill, through honest and charming performances in movies like “(500) Days of Summer,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “50/50” and many more. Now he’s written and directed his first film, the romantic comedy “Don Jon,” and while it’s a bold choice and not without promise, that goodwill doesn’t quite extend through the final frames." Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
"Don Jon" is rated R and runs 90 minutes.