Don Jon (2013) – Review

3 Stars

Don Jon is the first movie to deal with porn addiction in an honest manner, while wrapped in the guise of a romantic comedy. There are funny moments to be sure, Joseph Gordon Levitt proves himself a fine writer in addition to his equally talented acting chops. However, this is one of the rare films that directly responds to and address our modern sexual anxieties. The lead character is so frighteningly realistic, it is a wonder that he has not been pinned down in a movie before. Don Jon has the feel of something alive, and unforced, like it was easy to make–but it must not have been because movies this honest, offensive and likable hardly ever get made anymore, and certainly not by the major studios.

Jon the ‘Don’ of the title is stuck in a world of too much information and stimulation but too little communication, where he has become a slave to the glowing monitor of his laptop and the sexual escape it provides. A ritual that makes his life more enjoyable in the moment but has complicated it in the long-run. If the film fails it’s not so much because of its occasional indulgences than it does from a scattered and unappealing love interest that makes the story’s overriding love angle and eventual outcome difficult to grasp. Even if it sometimes stumbles, Don Jon is consistently trying to be original and more sexually honest than other films dealing with young couples in love today.

The revelation here is that Joseph Gordon Levitt has arrived, he is a full-fledged movie star capable of writing himself a juicy part in a daring film. If one day the offers dry-up, I have a feeling this guy can reinvent his career through his skills behind the camera, ala Ben Affleck. Scarlett Johansson is a beauty as the gum-smacking wise-ass girl from the city, but here character too often come off as stuck-up and manipulative to truly care for. The most enjoyable performance is the scene stealing work from Tony Danza, nearly two decades after he and Levitt co-starred in Angles in the Outfield, the pair are reunited onscreen in a much different type of movie. The dinner scenes play like Saturday Night Fever for the molly popping, facebook crowd.

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore

One thought on “Don Jon (2013) – Review

  • December 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Good review Jason. While it wasn’t the most ideal, nor perfect movie that JGL could have debuted with, it’s still very interesting in the ways that I feel confident enough to say that he has a bright future ahead of him.


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