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Movie Review: ‘Don Jon’

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The public can’t help but keep a watchful eye on child actors, essentially watching a ticking clock counting down until the day they turn for the worst. With Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan being unable to keep themselves out of the news recently and Miley Cyrus twerking anything she can get her butt up next to, it’s a huge surprise to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt managing to keep upping his own ante.

DonJonPic2From 3rd Rock from the Sun to 10 Things I Hate About You to Looper and The Dark Knight Rises, JGL has certainly kept himself out of trouble. And with his new company hitRECord’s first theatrical release, Don Jon (after premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival), JGL looks like he’s about to kick off another new entry to his resume behind the camera.

Don Jon refers to Jon (JGL) who lives in New Jersey and only worries about a few things in life: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, and his porn. That’s right, Jon loves porn more than hooking up with real ladies. While Jon certainly hooks up on a routine basis, he can’t help but slip out of bed and rub one out while his current conquest is asleep in the next room. On a night out with his best buds Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke), Jon meets the girl of his dreams, Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Turns out, as hot as Barbara may be, she won’t give in to letting Jon go all the way.

While Jon lives in his own sexually detached online fantasy world, Barbara has allusions of her own with an obsession for romantic-comedies. When Barbara catches Jon watching porn after she finally gives it up, she makes him promise he won’t watch it anymore. Meanwhile, Jon is caught watching porn in class by Esther (Julianne Moore), who wants to befriend Jon whether he likes it or not. And in the end, Jon may learn far more about life from her than he ever could from Barbara, his friends, or his parents (Tony Danza and Glenne Headly).

DonJonPic1JGL doesn’t really have anything new to say about men’s mentality towards porn, but he delivers his “message” with fantastic style. JGL originally started hitRECord as an outlet for artists to display their music. And he certainly stylizes a lot of Don Jon like a music video — even if it’s a mostly sex-infused 90-minute music video of hilarity. No one is wasted here with even Danza managing to be funnier here than in the entire eight season run of Who’s the Boss. Headly may be a little over the top at times, but the family is evened out with Brie Larson, who’s hilariously addicted to her phone in every scene, until she busts into a “Silent Bob” moment of truth.

When Don Jon made its premiere at Sundance, I remember hearing it was basically a 90-minute commercial for PornHub.com. It’s clear that to get the R-rating, all JGL had to do was crop the pornographic footage to cut out the penetration. Even with the edited porn on display here there were at least five walkouts. But considering it consisted of what looked like a family of girls, I have a feeling they had no idea what they were walking into. There’s a lot of frank sexuality to swallow, but thankfully, Don Jon earns its own version of a happy ending, while still winding up being one of the year’s most bold, if not brash and brazen, comedies.

Photos courtesy Relativity

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.