Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

MOVIE REVIEW: Porn addict meets Ms. Right in 'Don Juan'

By: cary darling Fort Worth Star-Telegram
October 4, 2013 Updated: October 4, 2013 at 7:49 am
0
photo - Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in "Don Jon." Courtesy Relativity Media.
Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in "Don Jon." Courtesy Relativity Media. 

'Don Jon'

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Rated: R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, strong language, drug use

Don Jon's a dog.

He cares only about his car, his pad, his boys, his family, his gym, his church (Sundays only), girls and porn - lots and lots of porn. That is, until he meets Ms. Right - actually two Ms. Rights - and his bro-licious world is turned upside down when he learns that women are people, too.

That's the simple premise for "Don Jon," the feature directorial writing debut for actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but it's handled with such a deft sense of humor and pathos that it transcends any rom-com handcuffs anyone might try to slap on it. Like "50/50," the 2011 film in which Gordon-Levitt starred as a young guy who discovers he has cancer but still needs to live his life, "Don Jon" takes what, in other hands, could have been awkward or mawkish, and makes it relatable.

Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a working-class Jersey guy cruising through life who seems to know what he's all about. That is until Barbara Sugarman (an entertaining Scarlett Johansson, doing her best future "Real Housewives of New Jersey" imitation) high-heels her way into his heart.

He's totally smitten, but the one thing that stands between them and relationship bliss is his porn addiction.

It takes a bit of schooling from an older woman he meets at night school (Julianne Moore), who's dealing with lots of issues of her own, to get him to try to face his problem of treating women like objects.

Sure, it's an obvious point and one that's not new. Several recent films have dealt with the delicate subject of porn addiction, and the dehumanization that stems from it. The powerful "Shame" did it in a much grimmer, darker fashion two years ago, while the breezy, lightweight "Thanks for Sharing," treads some of the same territory.

But Gordon-Levitt enlivens "Don Jon" with such a sense of swagger, as a director, writer and actor, that the film feels fresh. He gets strong performances from his actors, including Tony Danza as his no-nonsense dad and especially Moore as the complicated, conflicted Esther.

The suddenly omnipresent Brie Larson ("Short Term 12," "The Spectacular Now") has a small but funny part as Jon's sister.

To top it off, there's no way anyone's leaving the theater without Marky Mark's 1991 hit "Good Vibrations" dancing in their head.

Win-win for everybody.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.