I have every faith in Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I have been a fan of his since his Third Rock from the Sun and 10 Things I hate about you days. So when I discovered that he has written, directed and starred in Don Jon, it became a must see for me. I never once doubted JG-L's ability to succeed and I was right not to...
Don Jon has been on my radar for a while now, but knowing I could never bring myself to watch it with someone else has made it difficult to get round to watching! Jenna's review popping up in the drafts list gave me the push I needed.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays 'Don' Jon Martello a cocksure New Yorker who spends his time rating women with his friends and encountering one night stands with the higher scaled ladies and masturbating. The voice over makes it abundantly clear that Jon is addicted to porn and fails to find the same satisfaction in real women. (This is when I thought it became predictable) That is until he meets a 'solid 10' in rom-com lover Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who refuses to sleep with him until she is good and ready.
I really enjoyed this film, particularly the two halves that seemed like two different films. The first half was a fast paced raunch fest, cut with porn scenes to emphasise Jon's addiction but still comical and the scenes with his friends in the bars were really funny.
Yeah, the film's introduction was great, and as cringy as they were for me, the porn cut-ins were fantastically timed and really aided Don's story. I just couldn't stand Barbara though. I tried to picture Janice from Friends whenever she was on the screen (that's who she reminded me of) and that just didn't help me at all!
Then the second half surprised me, it became almost a romantic drama once Julianne Moore's character Esther got her toe in the mix. It went from a comedy about porn addiction to a drama delving into these characters and finding out why they are the way they are. This mix of two genres really made the film for me, I didn't expect it and when he met Barbara I thought I had the film penned (maybe Jon's confidence and attitude rubbed off on me) but this gave it a whole new depth.
It was definitely something different, and I do appreciate that. I've seen films that although enjoyable, are completely predictable so major kudos to Joseph Gordon-Levitt here. However, for me, the romance between Don and Esther was just too unbelievable, and a little uncomfortable to watch. I don't blame either actor/ess for that, it's just how I felt.
This movie never holds back, its got all the confidence of the lead character. It never shies away from awkward, uncomfortable or damn right gross scenes instead it draws attention to them repeatedly. Although, there were a few moments in this film where I cringed, the corridor scene outside Barbara's apartment had me covering my eyes but it was effective in showing Jon's desperation. I also found the family dinner scenes uncomfortable, but I think that was the effect they were going for, if so it definitely worked. Basically, anything that made this film uncomfortable, made it better.
I liked how blunt and un-afraid Don Jon is, and it was a film like no other that I'd seen before. I was also surprised at Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor, as I would never picture him in a role like this, and he pulled it off well.
There's a cameo towards the beginning that I just had to text Jenna about (I was excited) and she told me that they were actually meant to have the lead role until Joseph took it for himself. I couldn't help but picture that actor in the role then and I think I might have preferred him!
Brilliant work from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a real surprise, not at all what I expected.
An enjoyable and un-expected film all round, but sadly it's just not one for me.