Don Jon stars Joseph Gorden Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in a romantic comedy about a traditional New Jersey man that meets a traditional New Jersey woman, but this is anything, but a traditional story.
First off, I have to give props to Joseph. He really got ripped for this film! OMG. I was like...WTF did those come from? I always loved his portrayal of Arthur in Inception, but Joseph Gorden Levitt has been around for a long time as mainly a TV actor [the big ones being 3rd Rock from the Sun and Roseanne], but in the past several years has risen as a great movie actor as well.
I was excited about this one due to the interesting premise of a man who has everything going for him, including the ladies, but is a porn addict. This is Joseph Gorden Levitt's debut as a director and writer. I really like what actors do when they become directors in Hollywood. They always give unique spins to stories and show more depth and attention to detail. The odd part was the opening weekend crowd at a noon show was a rousing 2 people [me and some other dude sitting far in a corner probably jacking off to Scarlett Johansson]. Are we the only addicts in this theater or did people feel too uncomfortable to come see this? I think they were missing out in a way. This wasn't as bad as people imagined, but its also not as good at giving out the punches of morality with expectations as much as you would hope. The movie has a lot to say...but no really strong lines you can identify with like in movies such as Fight Club.
This made me feel I was watching a Jersey Shore Porno, I'm sorry to say. The movie makes you purposely uncomfortable in how much pornographic imagery that is shown, but it fails to finish off clean like most films. The story's conflicts were not as integrated into the main central theme and came off as plodding from scene to scene, with little pay off.
However it doesn't mean there weren't any fun moments. The movie essentially makes fun of the chick flick genre and the images and unrealistic expectations that different forms of media sends out to our young generation. The story work shows an intricacy that Joseph Gorden Levitt has in deviating from the normal path of the traditional romantic comedy. With some skill sharpening, I can see him taking his ideas further in the future.
The story is unusual as we follow our hero Don Jon from being a typical New Jersey horndog Italian male that loves his family and God to a man changing for the woman he loves to being lost and then overcoming his problems.
The issue here is I feel that Jon's relationship with Barbara had nothing to do with the story and often served as background noise to Jon's problems. There is also not enough connection between Jon and Esther for them to develop much of anything at all except in his moment of weakness. It is odd, but this movie felt clipped at the end. Like there should have been 3O more minutes that existed. It ends awkwardly with a rather sloppy fizzle out into nowhere. I must be missing a few extra plot points some where here. It didn't feel like it even ended and I was taken aback when it just stopped.
There are some good moments here. Jon's POV dialogue is interesting to listen to, however it doesn't make any real points besides the A-typical male stereotype. Jon and Barbara's chemistry is fun to watch as both manipulate each other in different ways. And Jon and Esther's interaction late in the movie is sweet. There are some funny moments that come about and who doesn't love Joseph Gorden Levitt jamming to "Good Vibrations?"
The central issue of Jon's journey is his addiction to porn. However the story also points out that the same unrealistic fantasy guys have about sex from porn, women expect from men with love in relationships. And as an interesting twist, the story does not end in the way you expect out of a romantic comedy. Consider this...the DUDE BRO FLICK of love comedies.
Which brings me to...
Yes. I said it. Sex. There is so much sex, porn, tits and ass in this movie that I was wondering if I should be watching this for content or paying extra for the free porn in the theater. Its confusing and a little unnecessary. After a while, it was like, OK, I get it. He loves his porn. Do we need to insert every clip the internet has to offer?
This is a new breed of romantic comedy...the guy's point of view and there is enough girl bashing and banging to fulfill any guy's interest if he so misfortunately gets dragged to this film.
The flow is exactly this....Sex, Porn, Gym, Church, Family Dinner and never deviates much from that flow until Barbara comes into the picture. Its kind of weird because some of these scenes seem considerably irrelevant to the storyline itself. But I guess they wanted to show that Jon is a consistent, simple man?
Jon is probably the only decent character in the movie. Jon is a perfectionist and you can see it in how he takes care of himself, his home, his car and the women he dates. He's flashy, confident and expects a lot. He wants not just any woman but the perfect woman. A woman that makes all men jealous and he could lose himself in. He is considerably vain and selfish. Expecting women to be there to pleasure him. When he meets Barbara he bends to her every desire so he can get with her, but ends up feeling trapped inside the charade of Barbara's fantasies. Jon is a rather simple character that drifts between the duty of God and family and his own closeted sexual life as a serial sex and porn addict. So basically the typical New Jersey Catholic. [Kidding. Please don't come to my door. I love Jersey! I really do!]
Barbara is the typical hot Jersey girl. Raised on fantasies of the perfect prince sweeping her off her feet and pampering her as the beautiful princess of his desires, Barbara sees Jon as a person she can "mold" into her dream husband. Barbara, however, has typical glaring female flaws such as an abhorrence to porn and feels the need to control her man from being anything, but her fantasy. Including a rather annoying tiff in the store when she argued with Jon that a man that cleans isn't sexy [what planet is she from?! You know how hard it is to find a man who LIKES to clean?! Barbara...what is your problem?]. Barbara is rather selfish in a different way, but unlike Jon, she never sees the fault in her logic.
Esther was a pleasant surprise considering she is not even featured in the trailer at all. Esther starts out as a 'who the hell is this woman?' type of character. Awkward, overly friendly, doesn't take hints. She irritates Jon most of the movie. Its confusing at first where she falls into place until much later in the story. She ends up serving as a more softer, accepting side to Jon's issues and because of their interaction, he changes and grows.
Both of them are one-dimensional characters. Danny is kind of the typical short, Italian male friend that can get what he can take and Bobby [featured in this photo] seems to be a dog as well, but serves more as a man of conscience to Jon.
Bobby seems to have more of a morality compared to the other two guys. He asks poignant questions that the other guys never think of which shows his game is more sophisticated compared to the flat out aggressive chase of the two Italians.
Father: Tony Danza is hilarious as the father and seems to say the F word every 3 seconds. I also like the wife beaters at the dinner table. Nice touch.
Mother: The very typical Italian mom, pushing Jon to get married and have grand babies so she can be a grandmother. Jon's mother seems to care greatly about the family, but we can tell when she gets angry, she definitely wears the pants.
Sister: I swear she doesn't say anything in this movie except for one line. Jon's sister seems to spend most of her time in the background, texting...somebody. Man...who is she texting? She texts in church, at the dinner table, during all family related events. But she does say one of the most important lines in the movie when she finally speaks.
1. The many moments of banter that are irrelevant to the story can get annoying. There are several moments such as when the guys compare chicks, the argument about TIVO and football and other stupid banter that makes the scripting annoying. Don Jon does have its moments and there are some witty lines in there, but its fleeting at best and its hard to get into the humor at times. Maybe I just hate listening to stupid people.
2. The narration. There is so much narration in this movie that I feel like Im reading a book and it drives me nuts. It completely cock blocked my ability to get immersed into the story. The narration is often too long, sometimes pointless, and spoon feeds you long, sexist manifestos about why he dislikes something.
3. Also..wtf is in Jon's cum? Lead? Tissues don't slam into wastebaskets that loudly. I guess they wanted to signal him tossing it in the wastebasket with a noise. Still...it really caught my attention.
4. Jon punches a guy's window out in his car and he just lets him go to church, no problem? Really? Is this typical New Jersey behavior? F* you! NO F* YOU Asshole! *punches window out.* We settle our shit the JERSEY WAY!
5. Also super random note...if you are epileptic in any way. Don't watch this movie. There is a lot of flashing lights in the beginning and a few other parts. Nobody should convulse over softcore porn.
So to conclude Don Jon may not be movie of the year, but its still a fun one if you can stand the Jersey accents. Its has its moments, charming, interesting, different, and a good first time for Joseph Gorden Levitt.
Take it away Marky Mark!