Don Jon Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut is a romantic comedy about a porn addict who tries to have a a normal "healthy" relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
Jon got his Don moniker because he is able to get down with any woman he chooses, usually no lower than an 8 on a scale of 10, but mostly 10, or dimes as he and his buds call them. Yet, it is viewing porn that leaves him more fulfilled than sex, because its emphasis on feminine physical perfection and the money shot sans male framing leaves him fully satisfied with his one-handed bliss fantasies that never require foreplay, commitment or post-coital cuddling. And never take Jon away from his porn.
The title when it premiered at Sundance was Don Jon's Addiction, but this is an upbeat rom-com where the 12 steps of recovery take too long and spoil the comic flow. So Don Jon with its Juan Byronic implications of a Dante-like descent into Hell purge and ascent into redemptive love yields the most direct route for the running time.
Scarlett Johansson is the dime, perfect until she starts trying to change him, de-mane him and rearrange him, allowing Julianne Moore to be the left hand swerve that proves right. Moore is the only person honest enough with Jon to disrupt the voice over mantra “my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn.” Moore proves the old saying: accept a man for whom he is and he will put the child toys away and do the right thing.
Ok, so Moore is a type as is Johansson's me-first-than-you shrew. As is Jon. Cartoons can teach a lot. Don Jon only promises a recovery from porn not standard Hollywood rom-com tropes. With time and practice as a writer and director, Levitt will develop the layering. For now, it's perfectly fine that Levitt knows how to deliver a moral education about how a bro becomes a man to his intended male audience. Character evolution through progressive repetition worked perfectly fine for Groundhog Day and will do for Levitt's first time.
Don Jon gets a B from me.
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