Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut is funny, fresh and an all-around good movie but the subject matter is definitely not for everyone. Don Jon (rated R), which Gordon-Levitt also wrote, is about a guido-esque New Jerseyan named Jon, who is quite the ladies man but also happens to be addicted to pornography.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Don Jon, it’s actually a pretty good depiction of the final film. Jon cares very deeply about a few things in life: his body, his car, his apartment, his family, his church, his friends, his ladies and his porn. Then he meets Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, and he enters into a relationship. Maybe for the first time in his life.
Don Jon is a satirical look at how we view relationships and the opposite sex. Jon is so addicted to pornography that he even tells another character he prefers it to real sex. And just as Jon is addicted to porn, Barbara is addicted to the idea of a knight in shining armor as portrayed in every day movies. She wants a prince to come sweep her off her feet and do whatever she pleases. Both characters have skewed view points.
Every Sunday after church, Jon eats dinner with his family and it quickly becomes evident where his view on women comes from. His father, played terrifically by Tony Danza, is practically drooling at the mouth the first time he meets Barbara. His mother, played by Glenne Headley, wants nothing more than for her son to settle down and have a few children. She longs to be a grandmother and worries it may never happen.
Don Jon has a lot of great laughs and some great acting from Gordon-Levitt and Johansson. Julianne Moore also does a great job as a fellow classmate of Jon’s in the night class he’s enrolled in. I can see the subject matter deterring some people and so it’s a bit hard to recommend. I would suggest watching the trailer and if it doesn’t look like something you’d enjoy, skip it.
However, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s direction is a lot of fun and I’m sure he learned a lot of tips from the directors with whom he’s worked. I can’t wait to see what his next film will be. I give Don Jon an A-.