To the legions of porn fans around the world, the much-talked-about comedy and satirical must-see “Don Jon” will really hit the button. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jon, a Jersey bartender who has a remarkable pornography addiction that threatens any real relationship he might otherwise enjoy. Fans of the ’90s sitcom “Third Rock from the Sun” may remember Gordon-Levitt as Tommy Solomon, one of the series’ main characters, an alien living in a teenager’s body. He worked behind the camera on “Don Jon” as both a writer and a director in addition to starring in the lead role.
In the film, Jon is a regular guy. He has friends, goes to church, and is just like any Regular Joe until he develops somewhat unrealistic expectations after watching porn movies. Among his friends, he’s referred to as Don Jon due to the fact that he is a real ladies’ man. In the film, Jon has no problems picking up one-night stands and flings in between weekly mass at his local parish and evenings spent exploring and pleasuring himself as he watches porn online. After watching so much porn and seeing the fictionalized and overly sensationalized lovemaking sessions of the actors and actresses on the screen, Jon finds himself searching for a more gratifying sex life.
It is on this quest that he runs into the girl of his erotic dreams, Barbara (played by the always-lovely Scarlett Johansson). Barbara is looking for a Prince Charming straight out of the romantic comedies she’s viewed her entire life, which is the film’s attempt to allow the characters to share the commonality of confusing what they’ve seen on the screen with the real world.
Although he’s accustomed to getting what he wants, when he wants it, Jon finds himself being manipulated by Barbara as she holds out on him and refuses to sleep with him-not that she is virtuous, she simply wants him to yield to her wishes. She finally relents, but no sooner than they’ve done the deed, she catches him back to his old antics-watching online porn flicks. In the end, Jon has to choose between a real relationship with a live woman that involves genuine feelings or the alternative, a life of loneliness and self-pleasure.
The movie does have a mixture of high and low points, and there is some real comedy thrown in. The confessional is particularly funny; Jon confesses his sins to a priest who gives him the option of doing a token penance for absolution of the sins he’s confessed. The Catholic News Service classified this movie as rated O for morally offensive, one of its worst rankings. This is due largely to its comedic mix of sometimes sacrilegious humor, frequent profanity, crude language, and blasphemous phrasing.
The Catholic News Service ranking holds a lot of water with even non-Catholics, which is the film’s biggest problem, and it is likely to hold it back from becoming the success that it might have been with just a little bit of toning down. That downside is hard to overlook, and it may alienate a large segment of the viewing audience. Under what comes across as a venture into a place that a lot of viewers don’t want to go-vulgarity-is a film with a soft and sweet story of learning about love. There’s plenty of substance to this film, but it is hard to discern when the characters are continually crude, and as you might imagine, nude-lots and lots and lots of nudity is mixed in with the images of illicit drug use and abuse.
One definite advantage that “Don Jon” ( watch trailer ) has going for it is that it is a twist on the romantic comedy. It is geared toward a male audience, making it a movie that couples can go and see together without the guy feeling like he’s watching a chick flick and without the girl feeling like she’s watching a movie that’s made specifically for men.
As Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, this film shows solid work by an obviously talented artist. The plot is a rollercoaster ride that is fun from start to finish, although there are definite low spots in the film that make the ride somewhat bumpier than it needs to be. Some of the elements of the film tend to get old a bit quickly, but it does come with enough storyline to make up for that easily.
Source by Zack Mandell