Don Jon

Don Jon ★★★½

Movies and porn are different, Jon. They give awards for movies.
They give awards for porn too....

The name of the game in Don Jon is flashy repetition. There are only a few things the main character loves. His girls. His pad. His fitness. His ride. His church. His family. His porn. He wakes up, tidies his apartment, brushes his teeth, goes to church, hits the gym, goes to the club, gets laid, watches porn.

Rinse and repeat.

He wakes up. Ass. He brushes his teeth and tidies his apartment. Legs. He sits in church then hits the gym. Tits. Goes to the club and takes home a girl. Sex. Porn. Moneyshot. Tissues.

Repeat.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and starred in this drama, comedy, romance type thing that resembles a raunchy sex filled comedy but also like an erotic chick flick. The film, Don Jon, is an impressive debut feature that comes with the typical flaws associated with first time film makers but ultimately ends up being a nice little excursion from the years comedy lineup so far. If you've ever watched interviews with JGL and if you're a fan of the films he's started in, you might go into this film like I did; not expecting something so dirty. He seems like such a sweet guy. You wouldn't imagine that this script came from that mind. The first half hour of this film I'm sure is going to make some uncomfortable moments for those doing a family movie night type thing.... Th movie basically opens with JGL crankin it to porn and ends with him cranking it on... Well.... I won't spoil that.

Don Jon, though highly entertaining and briskly utilizing its near perfect pacing, is a very confused film. The script is strong in dialogue but weak in direction. The repetition thematically plays an important role but eventually it kind of feels like its going nowhere despite it being dressed up like its racing for the finish line. JGL wrote a funny, quirky, raunchy little story that has its high points but you walk out feeling a little let down or confused. Like you have just been grinded on by a really hot chick then she smacks you and walks away. A lot of this has to do with some severe miscasting in very important roles. Its a small time story made for the small screen but huuuuuge stars are shoved into small characters. Its almost like JGL hammered out his dream script and just blindly castes the roles without factoring in simple things. Scarlett Johansson is sexy as hell in this film, but she just doesn't play or look like a Jersey Shore type girl. Julianne Moore is also horribly cast in a role that is sweet, and allows for some major development but it just... Doesn't work.... And finally, (I'm a dead man for saying this) Joseph Gordon-Levitt himself is a tad miscast. I get the allure of the starring-writing-directing triumvirate but the character of Don Jon just doesn't match what we see. If he didn't have money, and quirky indie films under his belt, I think JGL would be a pretty goofy looking guy. Definitely not one that is a Guido alpha male club hopper. I heard a reviewer call him "buff" and I laughed out loud.

He has frog legs for arms.

So you've got frog leg armed fake accented JGL acting Italian at a dinner table with over exaggerated Jersey Girl ScarJo and a tan Tony Danza who looks like an angry veined hot dog. Its a film of colorful, mismatched characters.

But I still really liked it.

Its impossible not to be entertained by this. The script is hilarious, the directing strong and the narrative is napalm. The story starts to feel like its running in place but its still running. Its a rep. A splash. A thrust. A stroke. Its got editing and dazzling pacing that makes it feel like a love letter to Scorsese but sexing it up a bit with a splash of cheap cologne and hair product. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first film is a fun, energetic, but strange film that gets a little sloppy but guarantees that you will never be bored.

Any film maker would be glad to get to touch, kiss, and rub on this during the making of their first film, so I bet in his heart that makes JGL feel like an Oscar Winner. Don Jon may not be perfect and will likely be seen as a learning experience if anything, but its still a smart little film about addiction, relationships, self value and love.

And porn.

Lots of porn.

Larry liked this review