Don Jon

October 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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I find it fascinating that the first film Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper,” “50/50,” “(500) Days of Summer”) chose to write the screenplay for and then direct would be this one.  He has certainly proven his willingness to take risky, atypical roles (think “Mysterious Skin” or “Brick”) and this one is no different.  He plays the titular Jon, a man addicted to porn. In fact, he loves his porn-induced orgasms far more than sex, though he gets plenty of that with lots of hot women. Along comes Scarlett Johansson (“The Avengers,” “Lost in Translation”), who succeeds in throwing everything off. Both Gordon-Levitt and Johansson are fine actors and both do a fine job here.  However, the real stars of the show for me are Tony Danza (“Taxi,” “Who’s The Boss”) and Glenne Headly (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Bastard Out of Carolina”) as Jon’s parents.  It is through them that we have any insight into Jon’s character.  In fact, it is through them that I got most of my laughs, as well.  The film is pretty funny throughout but Danza and Johansson steal the show (especially when they are together).  Where the film struggles for me is in trying too hard to have a moral message.  In the end, Gordon-Levitt appears to have a message for us about sex, love and intimacy.  At times, it just felt like he was trying to hard to get that message across.  That said, he’s immensely talented and it shows throughout this film. Some of the dialogue is brilliant, the directing is clever and at times insightful and his straight-out-of-Jersey-Shore Jon is a delight to watch.  He does also manage to make clever commentary along the way about the commodification of women’s bodies and the way that mainstream romantic films are just as distorted about love as pornography is about sex.  This is clever stuff.

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