“Don Jon is Not Your Typical Jersey Boy”
When I saw another Jersey-centric movie, I was expecting another movie about mindless meatballs and the overly tanned girls they chase. Instead, Don Jon was a refreshing take on a Jersey boy with heart…and just a bit of a naughty addiction.
The movie starts off with Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) being a standard Jersey boy. He does the gym/tanning/laundry thing. He gels his hair and goes out picking up girls. He has two beefy Jersey boy friends and lives next door to his family, who he is 100% devoted to. However, when Jon heads home for the night, we see past his Jersey boy persona and see a deeper issue. Jon can only get real love from hard core porn. None of the women he meets and takes home can compare to his love for porn. That is, until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Barbara is a romantic, who is obsessed with Hollywood films and finding true love. They are comically mismatched, but their addiction to film and the love they get from it is eerily similar.
Now, don’t assume you’re heading into some depressing drama about addiction. This movie still is a comedy. It’s just a very smart comedy. Watching Jon try to court the stubborn Barbara is fun. Their exchanges are quick witted and both characters are flawed. The problem is that while Jon understands he has a problem, Barbara remains in the dark when it comes to her on naïveté regarding relationships. [more…]
The director, Gordon-Levitt, does a great job making the most out of character reactions and expressions (even the rough ones where Jon is seated in front of the computer, enjoying his favorite ‘hobby’). Despite the fact that the movie has large focus on pornography, the viewer doesn’t have to watch any graphic scenes and only snippets are shown.
What really stands out is the acting. First, there is the absolutely wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Jon. Leavitt makes the transition from clean cut, California boy to Jersey hunk with a heart easily. He doesn’t turn his character into a caricature, which is easy to do in a rom-com, and he still makes Jon human and likeable. Jon is a Jersey guy that you could actually know.
Who could have thought that Scarlett Johansson could pull off a Jersey girl so easily either? She does not do the Katherine Heigl, One for the Money, half assed accent. She goes all in and she does it without sounding ridiculous. Her portrayal of Barbara comes off as sweet but tough, and really provides the perfect counterpart for the male lead.
The supporting cast didn’t include any slouches. Tony Danza is great as Jon’s opinionated, overbearing sports-addicted dad and Julienne Moore shines as Esther, a fellow night school student who calls Jon out on his porn addiction.
All in all, Don Jon is a smart romantic comedy, with likable characters and some unexpected twists. Despite this being Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a director, he clearly shows he knows what he’s doing when it comes to setting up a scene. The 90 minute film never drags and could have easily been made a little bit longer.
Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points![mashshare]