With this writing-directing debut, Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a remarkably assured comedy-drama while also giving himself a role that's far against his usual type. It's raucously hilarious but also surprisingly involving as it reveals the vulnerabilities of a strutting hard-man. And we're having so much fun that we barely notice that the script's approach to addiction is somewhat simplistic.
The title character is such a dude that his friends call him "the don", in reference to New Jersey gangsters. And Jon (Gordon-Levitt) has his life figured out, with a list of things he cares for: his body, home, car, family, church, friends and girls. In that order. But above everything else, his main obsession is porn. Then while hanging with his friends Bobby and Danny (Brown and Luke) he spots Barbara (Johansson), a perfect "dime" who's worth playing the long game for. Except that she has zero tolerance for pornography, so he has to hide his addiction from her, only confessing to his parish priest and an unexpectedly sympathetic fellow student (Moore) at night school.
Like a character from Jersey Shore, Jon is such a charming loser that we can't help but love him. But despite the macho swagger and gym-honed physique, he's also deeply devoted to his parents (the fabulous Danza and Headly) and happiest when he's cleaning his flat. Gordon-Levitt wouldn't be the first actor you'd think of in this role, but he plays it perfectly, letting us see the little boy behind the tough-guy posturing and making us believe that he's fallen for the charms of this idealised woman (Johansson is simply hysterical).
Continue reading: Don Jon Review
Jon Martello enjoys his routine lifestyle which involves working out, maintaining his apartment, driving a flash car, seeing his family, going to church, hanging with his boys, pulling pretty girls and, crucially, watching porn. The expectations he builds watching X-rated internet videos is a massive contribution to the fact that he doesn't have long lasting relationships with anyone, despite his friends nicknaming him Don Jon for his ability to take home a stunning woman whenever he likes. However, after setting eyes on a beautiful blonde at a club, he has more than just a one night stand on his mind and arranges to meet her for a date. When they appear to begin seeing each other regularly (to the delight of his grandchild-less mother) things seem to be going better for him than ever before; that is, until, she catches him enjoying his daily dose of obscene web action. Jon now realises he has a lot of lessons to learn if he wants to be with the woman of his dreams.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ('Looper', 'Lincoln', 'Inception', 'The Dark Knight Rises') stars in his directorial feature debut 'Don Jon' which also marks his first full-length screenplay. It's a comedy about a seemingly normal New Jersey guy who, though happy as he is at the present, could be slowly destroying his future. It will hit UK cinemas in the Autumn on November 15th 2013.