While I'm in the process of reviewing "movies for the bachelor", I feel it is only fair to forewarn potential viewers that this one is very, very much for the dudes out there. It seems obvious to me that writer/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt is speaking to his boys here. And while the film is a testosterone-layered dessert from start to finish, it is the final message that saves the film from being much more than what it looks like on the surface. One might call it an "eye-opener" of sorts.
We are introduced to Italian-American womanizer Jon Martello (Gordon-Levitt). His passions in life include taking care of his apartment, his car, his body, and of course, his women, which also often lead him to his church for confessional. He takes pride in how good he is at pulling in women for one-night stands, but to him, nothing quite beats the experience of self-manipulation to pornography. We also meet his sideline friends, Bobby and Danny (Rob Brown and Jeremy Luke, respectively), themselves womanizers, but Danny is the one constantly striking out. One night at a club, Jon's take-home streak comes to a halt when he meets the "ten out of ten", damn near perfect Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson).
At first, it's all about the standard "dude" play of getting into her pants, but she plays a little hard-to-get, and his feelings end up developing as he starts to see her as something more than a plaything to bring home. In the meantime, as things continue between the couple, the question of exactly what kind of woman she is comes into play. Without spoiling anything, really, we see almost from the get-go that Barb is the type of woman who wants her man to be exactly what she wants. This is a solid bachelor flick for any guy who had to face something like that in a relationship and speaking for myself, it serves as a solid reminder to not let something like that happen again. But the film's message doesn't just stop at "be yourself" and "don't let anyone change you".
On the sidelines is Esther (Julianne Moore), who Jon ironically meets at a class that Barbara wanted him to take. She's probably the most likable character in the movie, although at first, it paints her as a sort of annoying inconvenience to Jon. And while the film does largely give us the push to be ourselves and not change for people (although compromise doesn't hurt), it's also out to show the sex-loving dudes out there that despite how satisfying all of that is, there is something more out there that you may have yet to experience. I'm trying not to spoil anything, but it's so hard not to, as the plot adds a new important element to the story for each of its three acts.
Also joining the cast are Jon's family, Jon Sr. (Tony Danza), his mother, Angela (Glenne Headly) and his ever-silent, phone-obsessed sister, Monica (Brie Larson), who 100% plays this film's version of a "Silent Bob" character. Just check it out and you'll see what I mean. It's also fun to see names like Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Meagan Goode as fake Hollywood actors. There's also an arrangement of real porn stars in their real porn clips, so fair warning, this isn't a movie that really holds back at all on how open it is with sexuality. It's almost like Gordon-Levitt saying very openly how perverted he might be, all the while having the right message to say in the end.
The uniqueness this one offers in one's healing process is in that it not only lets us know there's plenty of fish in the sea, but the fish you're looking to reel in isn't necessarily what you think you want. Personally speaking, I think that's an important takeaway - especially when I know my taste in women has changed significantly after every breakup I've had. It's also good in letting us "lesser beings" (as far as clubbing goes) than even the kings of the nightclubs have their woman problems.
I'm not, nor have I ever been an expert on how all this "pick-upetry" works (not exactly a pick-up artist or womanizer here), but I still get the sense that this could serve as a good eye-opener to those in that position looking for a little something more. For the rest of us, I might say it helps us out by saying all these 10/10 women aren't necessarily gonna be worth it if they're only out for themselves. There's "better" out there for most, if not all of us, and anyone who disagrees has either already found their "better" or given up hope altogether. But give this a watch and you might see just how unimportant the idea of "getting laid" really is.