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
As if Joseph Gordon-Levitt couldn't get any better. The former child star has turned into quite the up-and-coming young actor as he's worked to re-brand himself as something more than that kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun. Over the years, he's starred in such films as Brick, The Dark Knight Rises and Looper, and has proved to be the type of actor whom everyone loves - and who actually deserves that love. However, his most impressive performance to date might just be the one he gave behind the camera with Don Jon.
The film marks Levitt's first time writing and directing a feature- length film, and it makes one hell of an impression, especially because he tackles the lead role as well. Don Jon is one of those movies that has plenty of laughs and a few heartfelt moments, and it's certainly entertaining. But it also touches on a few interesting social issues. I think I'll just go ahead and say it, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives away a few trade secrets, much to the horror of men everywhere: Don Jon touches on that dreadfully embarrassing fact that every guy is terrified will come out. What secret is that? Well, it's probably best to put it in the words of the protagonist, Jon, himself: "Every guy looks at porn, every day."
Well, that last part might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Don Jon does bring up the point that pornography has become so readily available through the internet and even television that it's just simply within arm's reach at every single second of every single day, and every guy now and then reaches out to take a handful. However, society still treats it as something shameful and embarrassing, rather than a fact of life.
Don Jon doesn't treat the use of pornography as something that should destroy relationships or cause significant others to fly off the handle in fits of jealousy. In fact, the movie seems to indicate, it's a habit that's probably pretty healthy. That isn't to say that Jon has a healthy habit, as he's reduced to having to look at pornography constantly throughout the day, even after sex, but you know, that's an extreme example.
Then again, maybe it isn't. Maybe the film offers a bit of a warning about how a little pornography is perfectly normal, but a lot can create a monster. Too much porn can make it so that it's nearly impossible to connect with someone else on a meaningful level. After all, watching too much sex can create expectations that are as unrealistic as the ones the romantic comedies create.
What really impressed me about Don Jon, though, are the performances that Levitt pulls out of his co-stars. I've honestly never seen Scarlett Johansson give a better performance than she did as Jon's trashy New Jersey girlfriend, Barbra. She's absolutely despicable as she slowly begin to reveal her true intentions and tries to paint Jon as the bad guy when she discovers his addiction. On top of that, Tony Danza gives a side-splitting performance as Jon's hot-headed father who gets into dick-measuring contest with his son every Sunday night (figurative, people, come on).
However, the most impressive of them all is Levitt himself, who has repeatedly proved that he is one hell of an actor and one who has earned my trust as a moviegoer. The role is something so far from what I would have ever pictured him portraying, but he pulls it off beautifully as he plays the scumbag good-guy stereotype.
Now for the hard part. I really enjoyed Don Jon. It strikes as a solid balance between art and entertainment, it's filled with lots of laughs and it touches on a sensitive topic in a way that doesn't seem preachy. The ending is a little weak, but everything up until that is golden. However, I'm not sure if it's what one would call a date movie, since it will probably lead to inquisitive stares during a quiet car ride home afterward. And honestly, that's really too bad. For the people that are willing to embrace the fact that everyone looks at porn, this movie is well worth the price of admission. However, I'm not sure if most of its value comes from the first viewing. It's no Shame, but there's really no shame in that.
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