Don Jon: Porn Can Be Fun…For Most—Movies

Who knew a fight over Swiffer could signal the beginning of the end of a relationship? That’s just one of the insightful tidbits from Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s raunchy rom-com, “Don Jon.” This film may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it hard to deny that it’s extremely well-written and acted.Don Jon

Written, directed and starring Gordon-Levitt as the title character, “Don Jon” is the story of one man’s obsession with porn to the detriment of finding happiness and love with a real woman and engaging in a real relationship.

Nicknamed Don Jon by his friends because of his prowess with women, Jon finds what he thinks is the woman of his dreams in gum-smacking, well-built Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Barbara has her own ideas of the ideal man (and that does not include a man who cleans his own apartment) demonstrated by a terrific cameo featuring Channing Tatum and Anne Hathaway. Does either measure up to the other’s standards? Is either possible of changing or better still, growing? Enter Esther (Julianne Moore). She’s a student in Jon’s class who strikes up an initially unwanted conversation with him. After many awkward beginnings, a friendship develops. Perhaps she has answers.

“Don Jon’s” entire cast is terrific. Tony Danza as Jon’s over-the-top Italian father is especially outstanding. It just goes to show what a good script and direction can do. Glenne Headly, as Jon’s wannabe-grandparent mother is also very good in an extremely funny part. In her 100th role this year, Brie Larson is particularly terrific as Jon’s  glued-to-her-cell phone sister, never saying much, but whose expressions say it all. In a zany family, she is actually the voice of reason. Julianne Moore’s role is small, but important, and she’s wonderful in walking the fine line between someone you want to slug and hug.  Finally there is Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Barbara is the meatiest role Johansson has had in ages and she devours it. She is pitch-perfect as the materialistic, upwardly mobile Jersey girl. And Levitt-Gordon?  He has written himself a fantastic part and he’s utterly fabulous in it.  He makes Jon so easy to root for and feel sorry for at the same time. You really want him to just get it right.

With “Don Jon,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt  is a welcome addition to the new, young class of hyphenated actor-director-writers. “Don Jon” is comedically smart, but make no mistake; it is R-rated for a reason. If you’re up for that (sorry), you’ll appreciate all that makes it a fun time at the movies.

3 nuggets out of 4

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