Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review: Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson

I had heard both scathing and positive reviews about Don Jon from my fellow moviegoers before seeing it. I will say that because of these, though, I was prepared for all of the (short) porn clips that were showed, and I was able to look past these and enjoy the story - and if you can do that, you too will enjoy Don Jon, as it showcases Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his finest.

Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is called Don Jon by his friends, because every weekend he goes home from the club with a different lady. His real passion, however, is porn, because, as he explains, you can "lose yourself" in it. When Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) one night at the club, and she rejects him, he finds her on Facebook, and invites her out to lunch; soon, they're a couple, but when Barbara catches Jon in the midst of his porn addiction one night, she's disgusted. He lies and says he rarely looks at porn, and she believes him; from then on, he he has to keep his late-night adventures a secret. Barbara wants Jon to better himself and take some college classes, and in his first class, he meets Esther (Julianne Moore), who also finds out about his addiction - however, she's able to rationalize it and help him through it.

JGL was fantastic in this movie - I've loved him since 10 Things I Hate About You, and although I liked him better in (500) Days of Summer, this film showcases an edgier side of him that hasn't recently been seen. He also wrote and directed the film - his first time directing - which is impressive. Most of the characters in this film, including him and Johansson, had thick Jersey accents (think Jersey Shore) which was also pretty funny - we usually see Johansson in "classier" roles. His father (Tony Danza) and mom (Glenne Headly) also had great roles, and it cracked me up that he was basically a mini-me of his father, down to the wife-beater top that he wore to eat dinner.

Yes, see this movie, but know what it's about before going in to it. I really liked that Moore helped JGL's character figure out why he was addicted to porn - she played almost a therapist role for him, in a way, and it was interesting to watch. I also liked that it was a movie that pretended to eschew romance or romantic movies, but in the end it was a romance movie, partly - it's a double-standard but it was a unique take on it. I do wish that the porn wasn't as prevalent as it was throughout the film, but at the same time, this type of movie would be hard to succeed if it didn't show what JGL was watching all of the time and his reasons for being addicted to it.

Don Jon is in theaters today, September 27th, and is rated R with a runtime of 90 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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