A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love.
Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
7 out of 10
I’ll give Joseph Gordon-Levitt credit. He could have picked something far safer than a comedy sex-drama about a man addicted to pornography as his directorial debut. It’s also difficult to make the lead character like-able when he’s a tough talking Jersey goomba who’s selfish and narcissistic. But, what I didn’t count on was that through all that he found a way to make the character grow through the story in a way that made me think more than I thought a movie of this type would.
Now, as far as sex films of this type go, this one is highly, highly explicit. It apparently was rated NC-17 until almost a minute of cuts were made to reduce some of the frontal nudity in the porn clips Levitt’s character watches throughout the film. I don’t say that as a criticism but as an observation so that you know what you’re getting into when you plop 10 bucks on the counter for a ticket.
However, unlike other films, it doesn’t use the sexual scenes to titillate but to let you understand who this character is and the way he thinks. His life is very limited. He works out, he visits with his family every Sunday after church, he goes to the clubs to pick up women, he bangs them, and then he watches porn. That’s his entire existence. Then, one day he meets Scarlett Johansson and admits to her that he has never seen a more beautiful woman. If his game is to sleep with women the night he meets them, hers is to tease a man long enough to get what she wants. Soon, Don Jon is taking classes per her suggestion, bringing her to meet his family, meeting her family, and hiding his porn addiction.
One day, she catches him and his life changes. I don’t want give away any more but the film is about characters making choices in their lives and deciding it’s either time to grow and change or stay the course. The entire movie works because of the performances. Gordon-Levitt is great but the rest of the cast is equally so. Johansson is absolutely spellbinding, Julianne Moore is touching and effective, and Tony Danza provides some of the biggest laughs in the film. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to those who are looking for a standard romantic comedy. However, for those who enjoy something original, different, and daring, it’s definitely worth your time.