Friday, September 27, 2013
Movie review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt does satisfactory job in his directing debut Don Jon
He's perfected his womanizing skills. Now about those directing skills...
Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is every woman’s worst nightmare. His friends call him Don Jon because of his ability to pick up a woman and take her home every time without fail. The women he takes home are al “8s” or better. Yet despite having a revolving door of the hottest women in town, nothing compares to the true enjoyment and loss of self he experiences when watching porn. For Jon, nothing can compare to porn. Not even sex with a real woman. All of this changes when he sets eyes on Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who is a “dime.” Jon puts aside his womanizing, porn watching ways to be with Barbara. Or at least he tries. Ultimately Jon has to face the realities of his situation. Does he learn to love? And does he ever give up his porn? Also starring Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, Rob Brown, Jeremy Luke, Paul Ben-Victor, Italia Ricci, Lindsey Broad, Amanda Perez, Sarah Dumont, Sloane Avery, Loanne Bishop.
RATING6/10 stars: With a little time and finesse, JGL could bring us great movies…but this isn’t one!
Written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon is a raw and honest film about male sexuality ... right up till the end. Everything about Don Jon, the movie and the character, is bold. Gordon-Levitt comes out swinging from the beginning just laying it all out there for you to take in. The the raw honesty feels fresh and welcome but it doesn’t last long. A little over half way through the movie it's like a switch is flipped and all of the sudden you are watching a hollywood approved ending, and it leaves you scratching your head. I think Gordon-Levitt was trying to teach us something but I never figured out what. Perhaps it was that we should “lose ourselves in our significant other” to truly be happy in life and love, but that doesn’t fit with anything else in the movie. The end is just out of place. Plus it gives the whole film a very superficial feel. None of this is surprising, however, when you take into account that this is the first feature film for Gordon-Levitt as a writer and director. You can definitely see the inconsistencies that wouldn’t have been present had it been directed or written by a more experienced hand. He has potential and I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing another film by him; in the distant future when he has had some more time to mature as a writer/director.
Story and directing aside, performances offered by the cast were decent. Gordon-Levitt finds his character’s swagger and owns it. Johansson’s talent has never ceased to amaze me and her Jersey gal persona here lives up to all expectations for her. I was more than a little surprised to see Tony Danza in this one. I mean where has the guy been all these years? I couldn’t stop humming the theme to Who’s the Boss when he was on screen! I wish I could say Julianne Moore was great, but I am still trying to figure out her whole reason for being in the movie.
Overall Don Jon will please a certain crowd for sure; and yes I am being stereotypical here and assuming the male crowd will appreciate this movie more than the female one. If, however, you put aside the graphic sex and the overall topic and look at this compared to other quality movies out right now, you will be hard pressed to not wish you had spent your time watching something else.
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