HOLLYWOOD—The title of the movie alone will automatically force the spectator to think the picture is about a guy who is a womanizer, and you’re absolutely right. “Don Jon” which can be helmed as a raunchy-romantic comedy chronicles the story of Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is known by his friends as Don Jon because of his remarkable ability to catch the eye of any woman he sets his sights on and to score every weekend.
There is just one problem that Jon faces: he is addicted to pornography. He has created a world that he thinks is attainable because what has been depicted to him via the adult film industry; its quite funny to say the least. Especially when he gets caught in the act, by the woman of his dreams Barbara Sugarman played by actress Scarlett Johansson; it’s a role that is quite funny to see the actress in.
Barbara plays the sex kitten every man has encountered; she plays mind games and she plays them quite well. Just when Jon thinks his charm has worked to his advantage, boom a curve ball is thrown. Both characters have interesting dynamics which is a testament to Levitt’s skills as a screenwriter. As much as the picture is about Jon’s addiction to porn, it’s fascinating to see Levitt tap into the issue with romantic comedies. Barbara has an obsession with them; she believes a man will cater to a woman’s every need. If only we lived in a perfect world.
What I find important about the movie is not only does it tackle the issue of pornography addiction and how it clouds one’s judgment and perception of the ‘ideal woman,’ but the movie examines that issue that we all live in a fantasy world that we think is attainable. There is no such thing as happily ever after as depicted in the movies. Relationships take work; they’re difficult and if both parties are not willing to compromise things will falter.
The film reminds you of reality hit “Jersey Shore,” but with a lot more charm. Jon is a splitting image of his father portrayed by Tony Danza who exudes that bravura type macho man. Our title character is someone who has morals, but finds himself fighting against those morals on a daily basis. In Jon’s eyes, porn is like his little escape; a place where only he ‘really’ gets it. Perhaps, that’s the point. We all have addictions, the question of rather we’re willing to admit to those addictions that we have is another story.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears many hats for the picture, not just as a star, but as writer and director. His ability to tackle such a polarizing issue such as pornography, with charm and wit sells the movie. The movie has its raunchy moments, but so are the moments where Jon learns a bit more about himself than he’d like to admit. That mainly comes from the relationship he develops with Esther portrayed by actress Julianne Moore.
One wrong misstep in the script or directing and “Don Jon” could have been a complete mess, but as an auteur, Levitt proves he’s capable of crafting a movie with a message; even if its one the audience would like to keep secret.
By LaDale Anderson