Don Jon (2013)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Glenne Headley, Brie Larson, and Tony Danza
Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
Don Jon is played for laughs and perhaps that's where the problem with the film comes into play. There are never really any moments that are purposely driven to make you laugh out loud, yet the film never takes Jon's addiction serious enough to make you feel pity for the guy. In fact, rather than feel sympathy for his addiction, we start to pity his relationship with Barbara who becomes more controlling as their courtship continues. Ultimately, this proves to be a bit unsatisfying for the viewer as we flailingly strive to connect with Jon in a way that makes us root for his success.
Gordon-Levitt deepens his voice and picks up a thick Jersey accent to play the title character and he certainly embodies the persona. Unfortunately, even towards the end when conversations with an older woman (played by Julianne Moore) try to get him to come to grips with his addiction, we can't sympathize with the guy. Maybe it's because he's got ladies like Barbara fawning over him who, in Jon's own words, is a ten. [That would be on a scale of one to ten with ten being the best, for those mathematically challenged.] Johannson also does a nice job with the Jersey attitude (although her portrayal seems a tinge more like a caricature than Gordon-Levitt's) and she certainly plays the part of a sexy tease quite well. Despite some cute moments of dialogue between the two, though, Gordon-Levitt's screenplay never really had me squarely in their camp hoping for their success. Maybe it's an unconscious jealousy on my part -- "seriously, he's screwing Scarlett Johannson and still has to look at porn to get his jollies?" -- but something just didn't coalesce for me.
While I'd be interested to see what else "Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the Non-Actor" has down the pike, Don Jon is a bit too generic in both its script and its direction to really showcase any fantastic talent the fine young actor has behind the camera.
The RyMickey Rating: C