Last night HFF had a chance to check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Directorial debut Don Jon. In this film Levitt plays the lead Jon, a ladies man who keeps his life very structured and orderly, by letting the audience know that "there is only a few things that I really care about in life. My Body, My Pad, My Ride, My Family, My Church, My Boys, My Girls, and my Porn." It's hard to have a problem with a guy that is that up front about things, you know? We see him going about his life, cleaning his house, watching a lot of porn, and hooking up with a different girl almost every night. He lays it all out there, that he prefers porn to actual sex because real sex never lives up to the expectations porn leaves him with. Things are going just fine for him when one night out at the club he sees the girl that will change the way he looks at relationships, himself, and his precious porn.
The girl that turns it all around for him is Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson. She pushes him to go back to school to better himself, refuses to jump straight into bed with him if the sex will be meaningless and even makes him promise to give up porn after she catches him watching one night, which he does.....for a few days. Despite being with his "perfect" partner, and suddenly being able to see himself going the distance with a girl, he still is unable to turn away from porn.
This movie takes an interesting look at addiction, men and women's different views on sex and relationships, and the choices we make. Joseph Gordon-Levitt not only stars and directs this film, but he also wrote it. Honestly, I really like the approach he takes with his characters and subject matter. Humans can be creatures of habit, which pretty much sums up Jon's life. He works out, cleans his pad, works out, visits his family, spends his nights at the club with his boys, goes home with a random chick, and then finished the day by watching porn, even after sex, so he feels completely satisfied. Jon's character is kind of a jerk on his initial views of women's roles in the bedroom, because let's face it porn isn't real. People may really like watching action films about guys being thrown from moving cars and still getting up and being able to fight 50 guys and walk away with only a scratch, but if that happened in real life, majority of us would be getting our beating from the 50 guys on the ground because we aren't going to be able to get up from being thrown from a moving car. It's fiction. It’s fun to watch, sure, but you can't base your reality on it.
Scarlett plays a pretty great Barbra in this movie. it is interesting how your opinion of her slowly evolves throughout the course of their relationship. I felt traces of the film The Shape of Things at various parts of the movie. Barbara isn't the only woman in Don's life though. When he does go back to school he meets and only woman named Esther (Julian Moore) who he forms a sort of friendship with and it is through her that he really starts to make a change in himself. It is amazing how much of a difference two very different people a totally change the course of your life. Some say everyone comes into our lives for a reason, and that they bring something we should learn and things that will help us grow as people. One thing is for certain, after crossing paths with these two ladies, Jon's life will never be the same again.
Overall, I give Don Jon an A-. The minus is mostly for how much his accent bothered me through the whole movie. Not his fault, I am just not a huge fan of the Jersey accents. Levitt does a pretty great Jon with the movie as a whole. Interesting story, great acting, and writing. Johansson has the Jersey girl bit down pat. I wasn't thrilled with Julianne Moore's overall look, but she does a great job as an actress and these days seems to be Hollywood's go-to "Older Woman" character. When you are hitting the box office this weekend, take some time and check out Don Jon. Already seen it? Leave your reviews below!