Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
With: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore
It makes me wonder why Joseph Gordon-Levitt would direct, write and star in a film like Don Jon aside from the fact that it's about porn and his leading lady is Scarlett Johansson, which is pretty self-explanatory. I am not sure about the message he wants to address though. Is it about the bad sides of being addicted to porn? Is it about love, life and the internet? Is he trying to create the funny and light version of Steve McQueen's Shame? or he just wants to create a film with a subject that he knows people will enjoy? Why choose New Jersey as the setting? I should probably do my research on that. But I just find it odd that he chooses to direct something like this.
'Don Jon' is about an old-fashioned, disciplined, vain, Jersey guy, Jon Martello, who cares only for a few things: his pad, his car, his family, his church, his boys, his chicks and most importantly, his porn. He finds watching porn better than doing the actual 'deed' with, as he refers to, "the real pussies". When Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) came to his life, he struggles between his true love and new love - porn and Barbara.
This is Gordon-Levitt's writing-directing full feature film debut and while it's far from being perfect, he showed his distinctive and playful style in his screenplay and direction which is pretty admirable. The film showed repetitive sitcom styled plots with hints of mystery c/o Julianne Moore's character, Esther, wherein at first, one would think that the course of the film is going nowhere. But Gordon-Levitt surely knows where the film is heading and he succeeds in putting a closure, or should we say, a 'development', to Jon's porn addiction.
Gordon-Levitt created a variety of characters in this film which is easily my favorite aspect of the film. Each character is unique and they all bring something to the table -- from Don Jon's friends who always look for women in bars and grade them from zero to dime, to Don Jon's family consisting of a tough father who mirrors his love for chicks, a gentle loving mother and a quiet sister who always checks her smart phone like the usual teenagers in this generation. But the real gems are Don Jon, Barbara and Esther to which Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore humorously characterized in this film. Gordon-Levitt displayed his never failing charisma. This time, as a porn addict, chick magnet that's very reminiscent of Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother. It also helps that NPH and JGL have the same overconfident and naughty expressions on their faces whenever they turn on their manly buttons. While I saw nothing new in Julianne Moore's performance in this, she's proven in so many films already, that whenever a casting director needs a middle aged woman willing to be fucked by a woman, a man or whoever and whatever his/her age is, she's always open ;) to portray that role with no shame, and her character in Don Jon is not an exception. Scarlett Johansson is my favorite though. Whatever she's doing with her accent, which the film has implied that it is a heavy Jersey accent, she played it pleasantly entertaining. She is almost effortless with this flirtatious and sexy yet kind of obnoxious JAP from hell character, but managed to make it fun and lovable. She's 75% why this film is entertaining. And her hotness still leaves everyone breathless, especially in one of her scenes with JGL in the hallway. Oh my! It is apparent that they all enjoyed their characters.
My friend said that this is a guy-flick but thinking about it, it's actually no different to other chick flicks. While the first half reeks of machismo, sex and grown men stuff, the second half kind of negates all of those things by including sappy and serious materials in the film. It would have been better if Gordon-Levitt maintained the level of virility throughout the movie. He obviously tried to stay that way but he focused more on the turnaround of Jon-Barbara-Esther's relationships and Don Jon's overall growth. We should have been warned before watching the film that this is not all about sex and comedy.