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Don Jon

By EMILY JENSEN
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a triple threat—writer, director and star, a la Clint Eastwood—is appropriately festooned with the time-honored totems of macho masculinity. We’ve got cartoonish muscles, unbridled rage, some good old-fashioned misogyny and, of course, sex that’s all about the man. “Condoms are just terrible,” whines Jon (Gordon-Levitt), a Guido beefcake who likes porn better than real sex. “But you gotta wear one because, unlike porn, real pussy will kill you.” Or rather, real pussy—with all its trappings of commitment—will kill your bachelor lifestyle. Jon doesn’t have time for that. He’s too busy clubbing, racking up one-night stands, jerking off, and then grunting out obligatory repentance prayers during bench presses and pull-ups at the gym. He is so immersed in Internet porn that it’s hard to tell whether his attitudes about sex and love are the product or the cause of his obsession. When Jon meets super-fox Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and actually tries to date her, her abject horror at his obsessive meat-pounding kicks off the slow unraveling of Jon’s belief in porn as the apex of sexual stimulation. The character of Jon is a total departure from Gordon-Levitt’s charming, shy-guy roles, and one that he absolutely nails. He brings just enough depth to the character, and to the film overall, to turn a schlocky premise into an honest and approachable exploration of how porn—and really, any other addictive simulation of reality—can cheat us out of the richness of actual experiences. The main character may wear skintight deep V’s and jizz in his pants on a regular basis, but the message behind Don Jon remains subtly brilliant.
 
  • Genres: Romance, Comedy drama
  • Running Time: 89 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, November 15, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Nudity, Some Drug Use, Strong Graphic Sexual Dialogue, Strong Graphic Sexual Material ]
  • Critic's Score: A-
  • Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt [Jon], Scarlett Johansson [Barbara], Julianne Moore [Esther], Tony Danza [Jon Sr.], Glenne Headley [Angela], Brie Larson [Monica], Rob Brown [Bobby], Jeremy Luke [Danny]
  • Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt [Director], Joseph Gordon-Levitt [Screenwriter], Ram Bergman [Producer], Nicholas Chartier [Executive Producer], Thomas Kloss [Cinematographer], Lauren Zuckerman [Film Editor], Nathan Johnson [Original Music], Meghan Rogers [Production Design], Elizabeth Cummings [Production Design], Cindy Coburn [Set Decoration], Venus Kanani [Casting], Mary Vernieu [Casting]
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