I really wanted to like this movie, I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor, but before he writes anymore movies, he's got to read some literature and stop watching reality TV shows. Here's a hint--reality shows are not about reality, they're meant to shock you and make you laugh. Or just shock.
Where to begin? The "jersey shore" stereotype of of an Italian guy who likes to party and go to church? Confession every week and the only thing he confesses to is self gratification and sleeping out of wedlock, for which he receives "penance" of 10 Our Fathers and Hail Marys? REALLY? What time period is this set in? There are no more "confession booths"! Penance stopped being like that for over twenty or thirty years that I am aware of. It's more like "do something kind for someone" or volunteer. More practical if you know what I mean. Even if I was OK with the stereotype, it's a stereotype of Essex County, NJ (think Sopranos). And, Gandolfini needed an accent coach because he's from Bergen County and, we just don't speak that way. And none of them had that even remotely right, none of them. I wanted to like this movie, I really did. But the stereotypes are just so over the top. A religious Italian guy who has sex indiscriminately, rates girls on looks with his friends, watches porn after he has sex with a random girl, a loud father who constantly watches football (uh, no...not in MY family) the Italian mother who only wants the best for her son and grandchildren (yeah, OK), and the sister constantly on her cell phone, even at the dinner table (not in any Italian family I know, at least in NJ). The stereotype older woman (and I mean OLD, over 20 years older) who somehow understands him and teaches him what TRUE love is. I can allow the beautiful manipulative girlfriend who wants a "real man" whatever that's supposed to mean, but you just can't take ONE college course in any school in NJ. There is a minimum number of credits for being a part time student, and there are all the many fees involved that would not make it practical to take one course even if you could.
Mr. Gordon-Levitt would have better served himself if he wrote about a stereotype he did actually know, maybe a California type is so wrapped up in himself. I guess the think is, this stereotype could have been "living in LA" instead of NJ.
"Nobby Smith" reviewing Don Jon, a movie which popped up as "viewers also liked" following a movie I watched but didn't really like last night, Drinking Buddies.
I think Nobby should think about Levitt's Tribal affiliation and then he'll see where Levitt went wrong with the stereotypes.
Levitt's Guido stereotype ends up portrayed as people such as those seen in a Todd Solondz movie. Levitt wrote a story about Jews he knew, but swapped ethnicities presumably because Levitt, like most Tribal members, prefers to project his flaws onto an easy target rather than acknowledge them openly and mine that for The Funny.**
In this case, Guidos are the easy target, but their on-screen behaviors that Nobby finds Not Italian, they're explained as behaviors of the Jews our writer/director grew up among and still lives among, but who can't be October Road-ed and so they become, for the sake of Don Jon, a bunch of Guidos.
**A few members of the Tribe can be found mocking Tribal insecurities and weaknesses. Allen Konigsberg, for a famous example, and as mentioned, Todd Solondz for a less famous one.