Don Jon (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Wouldn’t you just know it; Joseph Gordon-Levitt has all grown up on us, so to speak. With a string of starring and co-starring performances in movies like Inception, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises and 500 Days of Summer under his belt, the young fella, who seems to be everywhere right now, has stepped behind the camera for Don Jon. He does also play the lead role and wrote it, and I’m sure a million other jobs on the film, but the main thing is it’s his film, and it’s a bloody hoot.
Don Jon, or Jon for ease of typing, is the lad about town; he likes to go out with his friends, rate the women in clubs and then take them home for some bedroom action. He’s also addicted to porn. Jon loves the porn. In fact he enjoys this more so than real interaction with women, and it will soon become a problem.
That problem comes in the shape of Scarlett Johansson, as Barbara. She could be the girl of his dreams, but will his porn get in the way? Truthfully, she’s bloody obnoxious. Sure, she looks stunning (when hasn’t she?), but the character of Barbara isn’t all that pleasant. The one saving grace about her is that she persuades Jon to go to school.
As a film, Don Jon doesn’t throw all that many surprises at the viewer in terms of plot. You’ll pretty much work out where it’s going, and it’s just a matter of time before it gets there. However, the script is wonderful and Gordon-Levitt is fantastic, as usual, in the lead role. This is just one of those films that make you smile while you are watching it.
What may put off some viewers, especially the prudy McPrudensteins, is the constant barrage of porn, which isn’t explicit, and numerous scenes of Jon tugging one off. It’s actually bloody funny, and goes to show that not all mainstream cinema needs to be squeaky clean. Apparently this is the element of the film that gets the most comments, from what I have seen on the interweb. Lighten up folks, it’s fun fer Chrissakes.
Overall, Don Jon is a really enjoyable movie. Don’t go into it expecting amazing directorial flourishes from Gordon-Levitt (he does an admirable but perfunctory job behind the camera), but instead enjoy his performance in front of the camera, as well as his script. In fact all the performances were great fun, especially Tony Danza and Glenne Headly, as Jon’s parents, and Julianne Moore, as fellow student Esther.
Don Jon is available on Blu-ray and DVD now from 20th Century Fox