Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull "10s" every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don't compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women. Written by
Solid directorial debut by the most likable American actor of his generation, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
"Don Jon" (formerly known as "Don Jon's Addiction") is the feature directorial debut of the talented and ridiculously charismatic Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He also wrote the script and plays the title character, a young man from New Jersey who's developed: a) an unhealthy addiction to porn; and b) such unrealistic expectations about sex and love (and sex) that not even a "10" like Barbara (a hilarious Scarlett Johansson, in what is easily her best work since "Vicky Cristina Barcelona") can satisfy him in real life.
"Don Jon" reminded me of a great, half-forgotten French film: Bertrand Blier's "Too Beautiful for You" (1989). In that film, a wealthy car dealer (Gerard Depardieu) who has everything including a beautiful wife (Carole Bouquet) falls for his plain, slightly overweight secretary (Josiane Balasko). "Don Jon" is also like Blier's film in the sense that Jon finds his "10," yet he's still unsatisfied. Both films are very different in tone, aesthetics, and geography, but they delicately touch in the realm of our own emotional misconceptions and immaturity. We live in a world where our ever-growing concern about self-image, and the belief that we must abide by unattainable beauty standards in order to find a decent match, have grown so out-of-hand that all we ever do is find obstacles to getting to know anyone who doesn't meet our own ridiculous requirements. We are always waiting for the illusory perfection. Levitt sharply illustrates this issue by way of porn addiction; it might be crude for some, but he manages not to fall into excessive vulgarity or toilet humor.
Also featuring the always wonderful Julianne Moore in an important role, plus Glenne Headly (I've missed her on the big screen), Tony Danza, and Brie Larson as Jon's parents and sister, respectively; "Don Jon" is worth the visit. Here's hoping for more JGL directorial efforts!
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