A Review of DON JON

imageedit_7_2611860923Since a colleague of mine wrote an official review for the film on my site, film-addict.com, I get to come here and dish my take on the film.   There will be no rating, info or trailer.  Just the plot and my take on a new film.  A Dose of Buffa movie special if you will.   My review of Don Jon.   

QUICK SETUP-Jon(writer/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the ultimate bachelor who holds certain things dear.  His home, car, family and church.   He is also a supreme Lothario and addicted to porn.   The entire film is based around his obsession with and need for porn.  He gets more escape out of it than he does with real women.  So when he meets the girl of his dreams in Barbara(Scarlett Johansson), everything he knows and abides to is suddenly put into question.   

BUFFA’S TAKE-It is hard to not admire the skill developed by Gordon-Levitt here as filmmaker and star.   With this fresh new comedy, he puts a microscope on what many men and women go through in their young lives.   An obsession with sex and a need to have it when they want it.  If they can’t have that, they replace it with pornography.   Framing it inside a very funny film is a credit to the filmmaker’s skill in structure.  

Gordon-Levitt’s protagonist, Jon, isn’t a bad man or evil by any means.   He loves his life, and that consists of areas where he holds the highest amount of control and doesn’t let many close enough to see his true dilemma.  Finding the passion he gets out of his porn in real women and making a life.  His friends think he is a killer ladies man.   Women find him irresistible.   His family is proud of him but also wants to see more stability.  Jon drives a muscle car, curses in traffic, sings in his car, dresses like he is auditioning for a role in Staying Alive and makes it all work because of his CONFIDENCE.  When he meets this beautiful yet controlling woman, his entire world is thrown to the wood chipper and he has to figure out if this is good for him.  Throw in Julianne Moore’s unexpected reality check for Jon and his world is suddenly activated with possibility.  

JGL’s film has a heavy amount of confidence and like its central character, is crafty enough to work in the filthy subplot of porn and testosterone lining of the story without turning off viewers.  If anything, Gordon-Levitt is mocking the people that rely on video strangers to make them happy while revealing that this is a very real ordeal.    That brand of filmmaking makes for an involving comedy that won’t reshape the ways movies are made but entertains you and shows you something honest inside 90 minutes.   The film doesn’t wear you down and made me laugh out loud a number of times.   From 3rd Rock From the Sun to Brick to Inception to 50/50 to this triple threat feature, Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts Hollywood on notice for inventive fresh filmmaking.   If you are tired of sequels, comic book films and far too serious theater tales, watch Don Jon and relax and revel in its simplicity and dirty intent.  You won’t find many movies whose protagonist curses at 3 people in traffic, masturbates 30 times in a week, and kisses his mother with that mouth that you want to root for so take advantage here.   There’s also funny bits where Jon mocks the intent of romantic comedies(found in Barbara’s obsession with them) and the cameos with well known movie stars creates laughs that aren’t expected.  

Tony Danza does some truly great work here as Jon’s dad, an older version of the young lady killer and there are hilarious scenes at the family dinner table.   Johansson is very good as the woman who cracks the ice in Jon’s world and adds attitude to the killer curves.   Scarlett doesn’t need to do a lot of acting but it’s a good thing she can pull it off.  Rob Brown, Brie Larson and Glenne Headly are fine in their supporting roles but this is Gordon-Levitt’s show after all.

Don Jon is 90 minutes full of finely tuned comedy.  I approve of this movie’s message.  

For more movie news, reviews and sophisticated take on the world of cinema, head over to my site, film-addict.com.  I hope you enjoyed this Dose of Buffa special movie review.

-Dan Buffa

@buffa82 on Twitter

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