DVD Review - Don Jon

Narcissism has a new face
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Don Jon"
Written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it also stars the 33-year-old Angeleno and the first shot of himself is rather narcissistic. This fits because as it becomes clear, this movie is about extreme self-worship. Gordon-Levitt plays a 20-something named Jon who is going to college. I don't recall him at a job, but he does have a pretty fancy apartment. How he affords it is anyone's guess because all he does is go to the gym and masturbate to porn. In fact, the main trait about Jon is his obsession with and his more-than-frequent masturbation to pornography. In voice-over, Jon argues why masturbation to porn is better than having intercourse with an actual woman. Most of his argument is about how it looks rather than how it feels, making him and ultimately the movie very superficial.

From that point, it just becomes increasingly frustrating because I became increasingly frustrated with Jon. First off, Jon picks a fight with his father, played by Tony Danza, over TiVo. I suppose it was done for comedy, but it just reinforced how much of a jerk Jon is. The movie uses a lot of sounds from Apple Computer like the music or beep when a Macintosh computer is started. It was purposeful in Wall-E (2008), but here it feels superfluous.

Jon seems very homophobic. He drops the f-bomb, the anti-gay slur, and he gets overly upset at seeing guys in porn. If he's so upset, why doesn't he only watch lesbian scenes, so he doesn't have to see any guys? Otherwise, heterosexual intercourse will require there being a man. He must accept that at some point. For him to make that quibble just proves how bigoted he perhaps is.

The crux of the movie revolves around Jon's relationship with Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, who doesn't like porn. Later, he ironically has a relationship with Esther, played by Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights). Esther doesn't have a problem with porn, so Jon naturally gravitates toward her. It's a wonder why he doesn't date porn stars, or why doesn't he become a porn star himself?

Again, I know it's a joke, but it's an odd thing to have Barbara not know what a Swiffer is and also have Jon not know what Browser History is. It's suggested that Jon is a porn junkie. If so, Gordon-Levitt's argument for addiction is way more convincing that Steve McQueen's Shame (2011), but at the end of the day it all feels like a film directed by "The Situation" from MTV's Jersey Shore.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong graphic sexual material, nudity, language and some drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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