Don Jon (2013)
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
I don’t know what exactly I was expecting going into Don Jon, but after watching it I feel like I need a shower and also to clear my browser history.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of the finest young actors going right now, and I have enjoyed the vast majority of his work. This movie, which he wrote and directed, is not among them. The character he plays here is a severe porn addict, to the extent that he often prefers it to the company of actual women, whom, of course he has no trouble bedding at will. (Eye roll number one) Also the main character here is a “Guido” type caricature straight from MTV’s Jersey Shore (Eye roll number two), which is the next worst thing to be inflicted upon humanity in the last century, perhaps second only to Nuclear Proliferation, and/or Global Terrorism.
Also, Levitt is not the right actor for this part. There are too many pretty people here for a movie this seedy. It undercuts the believability of the story. The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman would have been a good fit here perhaps. As it is, Joseph Gordon Levitt comes off as an air headed “Joisee Boy” with no capacity for existential or even abstract thought, and poor Scarlett Johansen is cast here as a high strung unsympathetic bitch, all because she is rightly offended that her boyfriend would rather cuddle his carrot to images of Jenna Jameson than spend time with her.
Julianne Moore comes off as sort of likable in a weird way, although her character is a clear Dues Ex Machina put into the plot to provide Don Jon with an opportunity to experience emotional growth, and one final awkward sex scene. I think there was intent here to make a good movie, the execution however, sadly missed the mark.
There is a gritty, dirty, sad and perhaps worthwhile movie to be made about porn addiction, but trying to shoe-horn the subject into a generic Rom-Com is just an awkward mess. The women who typically would be into a movie like this will be scared away by the gratuitous and hardcore nudity, and the men who might be interested in either the latter, or just seeing a compelling film, will find hardly enough of either to hold their interest. The one small saving grace here is Tony Danza who plays an old gritty version of Tony Danza, which is disturbing yet very entertaining in the limited screen time he sees here.
Daily Inquiry: What is your favorite Guilty Pleasure TV show? (My wife is sadly a huge fan of the aforementioned Jersey Shore…)