The world was a completely different place before the birth of the internet, it’s now smaller place and how we think as well, the way see each other too has drastically changed. Once the favourite ‘passtime‘ of dirty old men in rain macs pornography has went from the seedy back street cinemas to your own P.C and in Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Don Jon looks at the sexual satisfaction of young men of today , well for Don at least.
We’ve seen him on the small screen, we know and admire his work on the big screen now Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns director in this quirky sex drama. He plays the titular role of Don (or Jon Martello his proper name) a handsome Lothario who says his prayers takes his vitamins like any good Hulkamanic does. His body is his temple as his pad, car, family, church, his buddies, girls are too but most of all his daily dosage of porn is what really matters to him. His buddies gave him the nickname Don Jon thanks to his ability to ‘pull’ a different woman every time they go out but no girl could truly compare to the girls in his porn.
Things change for Don when he meets his ‘ultimate 10’ in the shape of Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) a beautiful woman who ticks all the right boxes in what Don is looking for in a woman. Barbara is an old-fashioned girl whose determined to find her prince charming to mold him into what she is looking for in a man, she is a lover of mills’n’ boon type romances. But as things start to get serious Don has an meet with an older more open minded Esther (Julianne Moore) that maybe what he has looked for in love and life he’s been looking in the wrong place and too long stuck in fantasy land.
When an established actor goes behind the lens we do have a tendency of fearing the worst as many proven actors have fallen at the first attempt. Thankfully Joseph Gordon-Levitt does pull it off (only just) largely thanks to his determination and versatility. What we get with Don Jon is a refreshing look at relationships , which love is complicated, some of us have a ritualistic way of gaining love and many wouldn’t think twice to even stooping sexual gratification to get what we want. Love is a two thing and the film does highlights the problems in modern relationships with fantasies and desires in the opposite sex cloud our reality. Porn and mushy love flicks you could say are the new opium of the people.
The quality of acting on show is very strong with the stand out been Julianne Moore Esther is really the films only level headed character. She may enjoy her smutty 1970s Danish porn but she helps Don to open his heart up to real love. Scarlett Johansson‘s Barbara is Don’s female version, she may not be full of sexism rants she is controlling blinded by her own type of ‘porn’ according to Don mushy romance films.Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a convincing who has his morals even if they are immoral, a macho womanizer who loves his mum.
Don Jon is an entertaining yarn not necessarily laugh out loud comedy more charm, quirky but also a little contrived not tackling the theme of the film rather just admitting the problem. Relationships are complexed with complexities in Don Jon that woman are capable of having unrealistic expectations in love and life too. The film’s ending and the repetitive use of certain montages/scenes, it’s a situational comedy that will make you laugh, smile and question you at the same time. Don Jon may not be be perfect but Joseph Gordon-Levitt has created a good directorial début that show his future isn’t just in front of the camera and behind it.
Paul Devine | ★★★
Comedy, Drama, Romance | USA, 2014 |18 | 24th March 2014 (UK) | Warner Home Video |Dir: Joseph Gordon-Levitt |Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenn Headly |Buy:Don Jon [Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free]