Don Jon Movie Review
"There's only a few things I really care about in life. My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn." So says Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his feature-length directorial debut Don Jon, a romantic drama-comedy that is definitely no Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan affair.
In Don Jon, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a New Jersey meathead who loves sexy women almost as much as he does watching Internet porn. When he falls in love with take-no-shit-from-anybody Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), his devotion to porn is put to the test. Meanwhile, he meets Esther (Julianne Moore), who sees right through his BS.
A romantic comedy about a man who is love with porn is a new one, and probably not the kind of film you're going to take your mom or grandma to. Few topics are off limits in the film and there is more than one scene involving Gordon-Levitt stroking the old solo stallion to great gratification.
If you're still reading this movie review, then you're still intrigued, and if you're female, it's probably because I was just writing about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's penis. Don Jon, by and large, is a good movie. It's not a great movie - it isn't nearly as masterful as Gordon-Levitt's last romantic-comedy-told-from-the-perspective-of-man, (500) Days of Summer - but it has an odd charm to it. Though the protagonist is hardly the type of person most viewers can relate to, Gordon-Levitt is a talented actor and he manages to find the silver lining in his character - and tell a story arc that makes the man more interesting as things develop. It helps that he also wrote the screenplay.
The movie is also relatively funny, though probably not as funny as Gordon-Levitt intended. Don Jon operates at a good pace and Gordon-Levitt's direction is top notch, but the movie falters in a few places, not enough to kill the story but simply enough to keep it from being terrific.
The film's biggest problem is its ending, which wraps up a little too succinctly, too tidy, for its own good. Gordon-Levitt rushes through the denouement when there are plenty of interesting things left to explore, though I'll remain vague for the sake of spoilers. The good thing is that Don Jon doesn't end the way you expect it to, and that in itself makes it a worthwhile romantic comedy.
Don Jon is far from perfect and by no means a great film, but it is worth watching and an impressive debut for Mr. Gordon-Levitt the director.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.