Don Jon

Don Jon
Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza
In UK Cinemas November 15th, 2013

by Ruth Thomson

Meet Jon, he’s a pumped up gym obsessed, womanising egomaniac who like all good Italian American boys in New Jersey loves his family, church (like Philomena this is not a great ad for Catholicism), pasta, and porn. You’re going to love him – not!!! Jon’s number one thing in life is his porn addiction which does it for him time and time (and time and time) again in a way no real woman can (because we like missionary position too much – dullsville).

This charmer is the title character of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut – and for good measure he’s somewhat mistakenly cast himself in the leading role too. Scarlett Johansson is Barbara, the classy (or not) lady with whom Jon attempts a real relationship, Tony Danza and Glenne Headley are his stereotypical parents (all ‘when are you going to meet a nice girl’ over post confession Sunday lunch) and Julianne Moore is the mysterious older but hot Esther hovering on the periphery.

The opening scenes are pretty obnoxious – prepare yourself for a lot of porn montages and witty dialogue along the lines of ‘she’s an 8, no she’s totally a 9, no way that bitch is a dime!’ There are also numerous repetitive scenes of our leading man doing his thang and picking up the ladies. Twenty minutes in I was losing the will to live. Fortunately things pick up when DJ meets Scarlett and the stage is set for romance – or at least it would be if Jon knew how to delete his browser history – d’oh! And fortunately again the plot does take an unexpected twist which leaves us wondering what damages our perception of healthy relationships more – men’s delusional love of porn or women’s delusional love of romantic movies and the notion of ‘the one’.

I’m sure JGL is capable of a lot more than this in the director’s chair (I hope), but Don Jon’s not without some entertaining moments and Scarlett J as the gum chewing feisty/high maintenance Barbara is particularly entertaining. JGL in the title role however is not so hot, with an appallingly over-egged Jersey accent, and most disturbingly of all in a reversal of Victoria Beckham syndrome he’s so pumped here that his head is basically way too small for his body. WTF?!

Our red carpet coverage of Don Jon‘s Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the 57th BFI London Film Festival:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt discusses his directorial influences.

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