News

REVIEW: Joseph Gordon-Levitt scores with ‘Don Jon’

REVIEW: Joseph Gordon-Levitt scores with ‘Don Jon’

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Comedy, Drama | Run Time: 90 min | Rated: R
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson

By: George Wolf

Look at little Tommy Solomon! Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven himself a versatile actor in the years since his TV career in the guise of a pre-pubescent Earthling. With his newest effort, Don Jon, he exhibits surprising confidence and aptitude as both a screenwriter and a director.

The film follows Jon (Gordon-Levitt), a Jersey player who cares deeply about only a handful of things: his bod, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, his porn.

Guess which one of those gets him into trouble.

Maybe the best way to appreciate what Don Jon is, is to quickly cover what it is not. Don Jon is not a traditional romantic comedy. It is not a sexy romp, or a perfect flick for hangin’ with your bros.

No. It’s a sexually frank, cleverly written, confidently directed independent comedy/drama about our culture of objectification. It’s an alert comment on a society that fears intimacy, collects trophies, and looks to get more than it gives; a culture that raises girls to want to be princesses, and guys to collect sexual conquests. A culture where a fast food restaurant honestly advertises its newest sandwich by having an oiled up, bikini clad super model enjoy the tasty burger.

The effort certainly carries its flaws, but JGL gets credit for upending expectations, and for brilliantly paralleling romantic comedies and porn – because, let’s be honest, they are equally damaging to our concept of relationship.

Writing and direction are nothing without a cast, and Gordon-Levitt proves just as savvy in that department. Tony F. Danza, ladies and gentlemen! Danza has fun as Jon’s role model father, while this season’s go-to girl Brie Larson – with barely a word – scores as his observant sister.

Gordon-Levitt’s own perfectly crafted swagger finds its match in a gum-chewing Scarlett Johansson, whose sultry manipulator is spot-on.

The fledgling auteur stumbles by Act 3 – quite a letdown after such a well articulated premise. The underdeveloped resolution would hinder the effort more were it not for the presence of Julianne Moore as the eccentric and wise Esther. The role may be a bit clichéd, but Moore is incapable of anything less than excellence.

It won’t be long before we’re saying the same of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Until the end, he proves himself an insightful observer of his times, a cagey storyteller, and an artist with limitless potential.

Verdict-4-0-Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf.

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Viral Videos

Elton John carpool karaoke

Fresh
19-overlay

James Corden asks Elton John to help him navigate Los Angeles on a rainy day.

3 hours ago in Music

After dominating Super Bowl halftime, Beyoncé announces world tour

25-overlay-3

The 40-date concert series will mark her first solo headlining tour since her 2013 Mrs. Carter shows.

4 hours ago in Music

No surprise, Adele named world’s top selling artist of 2015

adele

The British superstar saw off competition from fellow singers Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift to be honored as the global artist of the year.

4 hours ago in Music

Justin Bieber posts cryptic Instagram message, fueling fan fears

justinbieber

For a while the 21-year-old was better known for his pop brat ways than new music, but Justin seemingly turned his attitude around with the release of his smash hit record "Purpose" at the end of 2015

4 hours ago in Music

Jason Derulo hospitalized in Paris

jasonderulo

The "Talk Dirty" singer hurt himself in a dance floor mishap.