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Film / Don Jon

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Don Jon (formerly titled Don Jon's Addiction) is a 2013 Romantic Comedy film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wrote and directed the film. Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, and Brie Larson are featured in supporting roles.

Jon Martello, Jr. (Gordon-Levitt) is a modern-day Don Juan who loves eight things in life:

  1. His body
  2. His pad
  3. His ride
  4. His family
  5. His church
  6. His boys
  7. His girls
  8. His porn

While his friends nickname him "Don Jon" for his ability to pull "10s" every weekend without fail, even the finest flings don't compare to the bliss he achieves alone watching porn. When he meets the gorgeous Barbara (Johansson), he thinks he's found what he's always looked for — the perfect 10. But as their relationship develops, Jon's attachment to porn proves a major roadblock, and he's forced to ask himself what he really wants out of a relationship and out of his life.

This film provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Deconstructed with Jon, for whom sex and porn is one of the things he thinks about most although it leaves him unfulfilled. When Barbara confronts him about his porn-watching, his first line of defense is to claim that all men watch porn and those who say they don't are lying.
  • All Take and No Give: Both Jon and Barbara are guilty of this in varying degrees, with Jon even coming to admit by the end that the unrealistic expectations he gets from porn and those she gets from romantic movies have made their perceptions of love equally "one-sided". Jon gets better about it; Barbara doesn't.
  • American Accents: From Joisey.
  • Auto Erotica: Jon and Esther have sex in her truck at one point in the film.
  • Betty and Veronica: The blonde and shallow Barbara and her red-haired, more mysterious counterpart Esther.
  • Blipvert: The film features several sequences of briefly inter-cut footage from other works.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Monica argues that Barbara is one of these.
  • Blithe Spirit: Esther, though it turns out to be more of a cover for the pain of losing her husband and child the year before.
  • Book Ends: Both the beginning and end of the film revolve around a monologue from Jon about something that makes him "hard as a fucking rock" and able to get away from his problems. At the start, it's porn, but at the end, it's the true emotional connection he has with Esther.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Both lampshaded and criticized by Jon as a romantic movie trope, and ultimately deconstructed with him and Barbara, as their differences in character by the end prove too insurmountable for them to get back together after they break up.
  • Breakup Makeup Scenario:
    • This is mentioned by Jon as being a standard trope for romantic movies.
    • Subverted in Jon's relationship with Barbara; after the Second-Act Breakup, they meet in the end just to conclude that they are not meant for each other and decide to part ways.
  • The Cameo: Anne Hathaway and Channing Tatum as characters in the romance film that Jon and Barbara go to see at the movies. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Megan Good likewise appear as characters in yet another romantic movie that Jon and Barbara watch.
  • The Casanova: Jon is known for his ability to get ladies into bed, hence his nickname "Don Jon".
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Barbara walks in on Jon pleasuring himself while watching porn. She isn't pleased, and he's only just able to win her back by convincing her his friend sent the video as a joke.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jon — addicted to porn, treats women like objects, yet has a sense of "what is right" around them.
  • Cliché Storm: In-Universe; the by-the-numbers Romantic Comedy Special Someone, which Barbara eats up. Watching too many of these is how she got her decidedly one-sided view on how relationships work.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • Jon Sr. tosses out F-bomb after F-bomb.
    • Barbara does this as well during her argument with Jon after she finds out he's been looking at porn.
  • Confessional: Jon attends one a few times in the movie to make up for how much porn he watches.
  • Control Freak:
    • Barbara. Once she and Jon start dating, she makes him go to night school so he can get an "actual" job (and even chooses the class he attends) and checks his web history (which is how she learns he looks at porn).
    • The scene where she bizarrely refuses to let him pick up some Swiffer pads and clearly doesn't want him doing housework at all may count, too.
  • Cool Car: Jon's 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.
  • Corrupting Pornography: Jon's consumption of porn ruins his relationship with Barbara (though he does see there was a lot else wrong with it) and it's treated as extremely strange that he prefers porn over having sex with "actual" women - because, as he notes, he has no problem finding women to hook up with him.
  • Double Entendre: Right before the Jizzed in My Pants moment explained below, Barbara tells Jon, "I can't let you come inside yet." In other words, Barbara is telling him that, until they take their relationship to the next level, that's the furthest he's going to get.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Jon Sr. sure can't keep his eyes off his son's new girlfriend.
  • Extreme Libido: Jon, who has a case of satyriasis, the Spear Counterpart of nymphomania for women.
  • Eye Pop: We see this happening to a cartoon character while lusting after a hot Ms. Fanservice in a brief scene at the start of the film.
  • The Gadfly: Esther gets amusement out of getting under Jon's skin.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of romantic comedies. Also, within the movie, Jon realizes that romantic movies distort women's expectations of what romantic relationships should be in a similar way to how porn distorts sex for men
  • G-Rated Sex: In one scene, Jon and Barbara engage in some dry-humping outside her apartment.
  • Has a Type: Jon’s friend Danny goes after women that have smaller breasts because more than a handful just reminds him of his mother’s breasts.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Jon is incredulous that his dad doesn't know about TiVo or that Barbara doesn't know about Swiffers, but he doesn't even know that his web browser has a history.
  • I Want Grandkids: Jon's mother constantly pesters him about finding the right girl and settling down because she feels old enough to be a grandmother already.
  • Jerkass: Jon's womanizing ways put him squarely in this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jon treats girls like objects but he has a sense for family.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: This happens to Jon after he and Barbara engage in some dry-humping outside her apartment door. We later see this isn't the first time something like that has happened to Jon.
  • Joisey: Jon is from New Jersey and has a heavy accent.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Subverted in Jon's relationship with Barbara. Played straight with him and Esther, though.
  • Last Girl Wins: Esther ends up with Jon at the end.
  • Laugh of Love: Barbara tends to smile and laugh when she's with Jon. This is gradually averted as their relationship deteriorates, and after he and Barbara break up, he and Esther sometimes laugh when talking about their shared interests.
  • Likes Older Women: After breaking up with Barbara, Jon hooks up with Esther, who is much older than him.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Jon falls for Barbara immediately.
    • Conversed when Jon comments on romantic movies that all feature this trope.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Jon is a stereotypical guido.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Barbara is straightforward with Jon, explaining that he had to take a night school class before she would sleep with him.
  • Male Gaze: The camerawork throughout the movie. This being a movie that focuses a lot on sexual desires, it conveys the mindset of Jon, who has sex on his mind throughout the movie.
  • Meaningful Echo: In both monologues at the very beginning and end of the film, Jon talks in length about how "all the bullshit fades away", with the first instance referring to when he masturbates to porn, while the second instance refers to the way Jon feels when he is with Esther, highlighting his character development.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Subverted in that Jon's a Neat Freak. He LIKES to keep his apartment clean; Barbara retorts that cleaning up is for maids.
  • Morton's Fork: When Barbara finds out about Jon's porn habits, not only is she extremely upset about all of the content in his web history, but she's incredulous that Jon apparently didn't know about his web history. To this, she says that if he had known, he "would've erased it like a good little phony", implying she would've made a similar scene and possibly left him either way.
  • Neat Freak: Jon keeps his apartment immaculate and is obviously quite proud of it, which doesn't jibe with Barbara's conception of how men should act.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer promises a fun, frothy Romantic Comedy between Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But the two co-leads actually break up at around the midway point, and the movie ends up being a surprisingly thoughtful and nuanced examination of modern intimacy.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Barbara confronts Jon over his porn habits, he points out that she's just as obsessed with romantic comedies as he is with pornography.
    Barbara: Movies and pornos are different, Jon! They give awards for movies!
    Jon (under his breath): They give awards for porn, too.
  • Orbital Kiss: Between Jon and Barbara in the theatre lobby.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Jon describes himself as working in the "service sector", as a bartender. Though many scenes take place in nightclubs, Jon is never seen behind the counter.
  • Product Placement:
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Jon has a lot of pride in keeping his home clean. He even refuses to have another woman clean it for him.
  • Redhead In Green: Esther wears a green coat in the scene where she tries to give Jon a porno dvd. Ultimately downplayed as she only wears the green coat once and changes outfits throughout the movie.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The essential ending of all love movies, according to Jon.
  • Running Gag Stumbles:
    • Played for Drama with Jon losing his cool on the way to Sunday church and confessional. Most of the time, he just curses the other driver out, but after the breakup with Barbara, he walks up to and busts the window of a Prius. After making love with Esther, he sings along to Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations" on the way to church.
    • Also Played for Drama with Jon's Sunday confessionals. He repeatedly confesses his indulgences in sex and pornography, and happily accepts his penance every time. Eventually, however, he confesses his more meaningful lovemaking with Esther and objects when the priest gives the usual penance.
      • The priest could have commented on Jon's confessing that he had lied before to him or another priest in earlier confessions; the fact that he just gives out the usual penance without commenting on that adds to Jon's dismay over this.
    • A visual Running Gag is the repeated shots of Jon strutting down the gym hallway towards the weight room, where he works out alone. In the final such shot, he stops and instead goes into the basketball court to play with others.
    • Jon's sister Monica is defined by spending most of the film silent and bored on her phone; when Jon's parents are upset after he admits to his breakup with Barbara, she finally talks to assure Jon that Barbara was a control freak and the breakup was for the best, and it becomes a pivotal moment for his Character Development in the third act.
  • Second-Act Breakup:
    • Barbara breaks up with Jon halfway through the movie over him lying about his porn addiction.
    • Jon also mentions this happening in all romantic movies.
  • Second Love: Jon's relationship with Esther seems to work out better than the first one with Barbara.
  • Sexiness Score: Jon got his nickname of "Don Jon" due to being a major Chick Magnet that scores with "10s" all the time. His friend Danny prefers going after "3s" or "4s" because they are easier to date.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Barbara liked Jon for his wholesome qualities.
  • Soft Glass: Subverted, Jon smashes a car's safety glass with his fist, but it's very painful and his hands get very damaged.
  • So Was X: Barbara remarks that the difference between movies and porn is that movies get awards; Jon responds that porn movies get awards too.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Jon's sister spends the dinner scenes checking her phone and throwing annoyed looks at her parents and her brother, it's until the family argument over the breakup that she finally speaks up, proving herself to be remarkably insightful.
  • Truth in Television: The idea of porn being an addiction and that being in a relationship doesn't necessarily curtail it.
  • The Unfair Sex: Subverted. At first, the movie follows the typical Second-Act Breakup of a Rom Com, with the blame of the relationship failing falling on Jon. After reflecting on it with both his family and Esther, the conclusion is the relationship had to be a two-way street, and Barbara was too controlling and demeaning.