The talented actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes a creditable writing & directing debut with this stylish, amusing, and sexually frank character study. Gordon-Levitt himself plays the character in question, a young New Jersey man "in the service industry" with a fairly short list of what matters to him in life. He has a real knack for being able to score with any hot woman he desires, but at the same time he has a hopeless addiction to Internet pornography. He can't go a day without checking out numerous sites. Then he meets a beauty, Barbara Sugarman (the delectable Scarlett Johansson), with whom he might be able to maintain an actual relationship. But he just can't give up his daily habit.
This extremely well shot film attempts to take a hard look at how todays' people have hangups that prevent them from having fulfilling relationships. As we are shown, both Jon and Barbara have idealized notions: he finds Internet porn preferable to real life sex, and she's been raised on scores of romantic movies, so they've been conditioned to concentrate on fantasy rather than reality. Gordon-Levitt cannily makes references to the way that sex is sold in order to appeal to consumers, which is all part of the problem. What doesn't help is when people get too wrapped up in themselves, and cannot make connections to other flesh & blood human beings.
There's of course lots of raunchy imagery, and quite a bit of colourful language, so this won't be for all tastes, but Gordon-Levitt is using it all in service of the plot.
He's charming and engaging in the lead, and Johansson is similarly appealing. Julianne Moore has a delightful presence as the older woman Jon encounters in night school; it's with her that he's finally able to display some real candor. Tony Danza and Glenne Headly are fine as Jons' parents, and Rob Brown and Jeremy Luke have their moments as his friends.
Thankfully, the script refrains from ever becoming TOO predictable.
Eight out of 10.
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