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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Confessions of a Porn Addict

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s anti-romantic comedy, ’Don Jon,’ takes an honest and humorous look at a modern-day Don Juan Demarco’s vain attempts at finding love.  JG-L plays Don Jon Martello, a twenty-something lothario who works in the ‘service industry’ (a bartender) and is proud of it.  He confesses at  church every week for his sexual misdeeds, hits the gym, works hard, parties even harder and has quite the reputation of a 'player' and ladies’ man, since he has had more one-night stands under his belt than he could remember.  In the tradition of other young Italian-American "guidos" like Joey Tribbiani from ‘Friends’ or Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino from ‘Jersey Shore,’ Don Jon is a real jerk-off (in more ways than one) who objectifies women.  Oh, and did I mention he’s addicted to porn?
 


So when he saw Esquire Magazine’s sexiest woman two-time winner Scarlett Johansson’s Barbara across the dance floor at the bar one night, it was ‘love at first sight’ after rating her a solid '9' and he just had to hit on her.  She’s not as easy as his typical conquests, however, and only begrudgingly allows him to take her on a date to see a (gasp!) rom-com.  With her New Yorker accent, ScarJo did quite a passable impression of Fran Drescher from ‘The Nanny,’ though not as nasally.  Alas, their fling did not end well.  Just as they finally consummated their courtship after a night of, well, you know what, Don Jon boots up his computer again to ‘unwind’ with his favorite websites in an adjacent room while Barbara was ‘asleep,’ only to have her walk in on him with his pants down, so to speak.   Spoilers, you say?  Go screw yourself, because all this was given away in the movie’s trailer.  Anyhoo, with some help from Julianne Moore’s Esther, a widow who turned out to be Don Jon’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ if you get my drift, Don Jon learns the valuable lesson that 'love' without true love is deeply unfulfilling. 

Written and directed by JG-L himself, ‘Don Jon’ is full of wry humor and wit.  Don Jon isn’t a particularly likeable guy (okay, he’s something of a pig), but like Joey Tribbiani he’s naïve and well meaning, so he’s not entirely despicable.  To the contrary, some might even find him a bit endearing.  In essence, Don Jon is the very antithesis of the other lovelorn twenty-something JG-L portrayed in Marc Webb's quirky 2009 rom-com ‘500 Days of Summer.’  In ‘Don Jon,’ JG-L has shown that he may not only be a versatile actor but an up-and-coming writer/director as well.  Only time will tell.

Grade: A-
 

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