Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, and Julianne Moore, with Rob Brown, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, and Tony Danza in supporting roles. The film premiered under its original title Don Jon's Addiction at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013, and was released in the United States on September 27, 2013. The film grossed $41 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics.
Jon Martello is a young Italian-American and modern-day Don Juan living in New Jersey. He enjoys his independent life, which consists of working out, caring for his apartment, driving his 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, going to church with his family, and engaging in a casual sex life. Though he enjoys sex, he is more satisfied by masturbating to hardcore pornography.
While at a nightclub with his two best friends, Jon becomes enamored with Barbara Sugarman, a beautiful young woman from an affluent background. Despite heavy flirting, she declines his offer for a one-night stand. Finding her on Facebook, Jon invites Barbara to lunch. There is mutual attraction, but she insists on a long-term courtship and demands that he always be honest. Their relationship proceeds over a month and without sex. Barbara encourages Jon to take a nighttime community college class to obtain a career outside the service industry, and he indulges her love of romance films, which he usually dismisses as fantasy. They meet each other's friends and families, and Jon's parents are immediately smitten by Barbara.
Jon and Barbara finally have sex, but he is still dissatisfied. He considers her body perfect, but still finds porn more satisfying. Barbara catches Jon watching porn, but he manages to convince her that it was a joke email sent by a friend. Their relationship resumes, with Jon concealing his habit from Barbara as it becomes an addiction.
Before the next class Esther shocks Jon by handing him an erotic video which she believes has a healthier depiction of sex, and after class they wind up having sex in her parked car. She asks why he loves porn so much, and he reveals that he wants to get lost in sex, but cannot do that with a partner. Esther persuades Jon to try masturbating without porn, but he is unable to. They continue having casual sex and Esther expresses the belief that Jon enjoys sex alone because he has not found a real intimate connection with a romantic partner and focuses merely on his own satisfaction. After suggesting they take a bath together, Jon finds Esther crying in the hall and she reveals that her husband and son died in a car crash just fourteen months prior. The intimacy of this moment deepens their emotional connection, and Jon experiences truly satisfying sex for the first time in his life.
Jon tells his family about the breakup with Barbara. While his parents are upset, his sister Monica bluntly tells him that Barbara's demands showed that she wanted to date someone who allowed her to control him. Jon meets with Barbara and apologizes for lying to her. They discuss her expectations, which he asserts were unattainable, and she tells him not to call her again.
Development for Don Jon began in 2008, when Gordon-Levitt wrote early notes about the film. Rian Johnson gave feedback during the writing process and reviewed several cuts of the film. Christopher Nolan cautioned against both directing and starring in the film due to the extra challenges it would bring.
Gordon-Levitt has credited his experience directing short films for HitRecord for teaching him what he needed to know to make Don Jon and has said that he hopes to make films in a more collaborative way in the future.
In the United States, the film was originally certified NC-17, due to some explicit pornography that Jon watches. Gordon-Levitt decided to remove some of the more graphic scenes to qualify for an R rating because he felt the original rating would cause people to think the movie was about pornography.
Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 80% based on 202 reviews, with a rating average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Don Jon proves to be an amiable directing debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a vivacious showcase for his co-star, Scarlett Johansson." Metacritic gives a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on its opening weekend gave Don Jon an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
Don Jon received very positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. Entertainment Weekly managing editor Jess Cagle called the film "one of the best movies I saw at the fest" and wrote "Funny, touching, smart, and supremely confident, Don Jon is also Gordon-Levitt's feature directorial debut, and it establishes him as one of Hollywood's most exciting new directors." William Goss of Film.com praised Gordon-Levitt for his "assured style" as both director and screenwriter. Edward Douglas of ComingSoon.net gave high praise to the screenplay. Consensus of the film when it was played at the Sundance Film Festival, as noted by Odie Henderson, was that Don Jon was a "more fun version" of the 2011 film Shame.
When I meet people, one of the first things they say to me is "you're from New Jersey? You don't have an accent!" This is untrue; I do have a Jersey accent, of which I am very proud. What I do not have is the movie version, which is an ovah da top Bwooklyn accent squooshed togedda with an even moah ovah da top Staten Eyelen accent. Granted, your standard issue Jersey accent sounds something like that hybrid, but not to the extremes movies and television take it. Outside of the Boston accent, no other accent gets more overplayed than New Jersey's. It's enough to make Bruce Springsteen cry.
Almost everyone in "Don Jon" tawks as if he or she were raised in the middle of the Verrazano Bridge by amateur stand-up comedians. The usually talented Los Angeles native Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Joisey accent is a horrific exaggeration. He plays up the regional sounds and cadences to the point of belief-shattering extremity. He is joined in overdone accent purgatory by New York City native Scarlett Johansson, who should know bettuh, and Glenne Headly, who should get a Razzie nomination for playing the biggest Italian mother stereotype in the history of cinema. At least Brooklyn's own Tony Danza gets the accent right, though I would have forgiven him anyway. Hearing the star of "Who's the Boss?" drop about 500 f-bombs is one of the film's few pleasures.
Back in the days of Sundance, when "Don Jon" had a longer title ("Don Jon's Addiction") and an NC-17 rating, the consensus was that Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut was a more fun version of "Shame." That film was about sex addiction, but "Don Jon" paves its road to hell with pornography. Now shorn of one-third of its original title and whatever spiciness that pushed it over the NC-17 edge, "Don Jon" hits theaters the week after yet another film about sex addicts, "Thank You For Sharing." By refusing to allow us to engage its protagonist, "Shame" kept him at an infuriating arm's length. "Don Jon" wants you to hug its sticky, chauvinistic hero, and is willing to use every single macho cliché in the book to ensure it.
Gordon-Levitt plays The Situation, I mean, Jon, a pumped up weightlifter guy whose sexual technique is so good that his buddies call him The Don. Flanked by his two cronies, who act like hungry puppies jumping around a huge bag of Purina Dog Chow, Jon makes the rounds of the nightclub every week. Spouting dialogue that is neither clever nor interesting, Jon and his crew describe and rate the numerous women they ogle. Since he directed the movie, Jon goes home with a bevy of babes, while his buddies stare glassy-eyed into the distance as he exits. They later use him as a human-sized version of Penthouse Forum Magazine, drooling over his stories rather than trying to get laid themselves.
"Don Jon" shoots these numerous club moments as montages. After the fifth or sixth time the exact same montage is played with a different woman, one starts to wonder what the hell got cut out of the movie since Sundance. Another set of montages might provide that answer: Since Jon is addicted to porn, or "paauhhn" as it's called here, a quick-cut series of dirty images invade the screen every time Jon waxes his whooziwatzit. I'm going out on a limb to say these images were probably a lot more pornographic in the early, festival cut. What we're left with is a sad set of barely R-rated T&A moments that even Skinemax would reject.
"Don Jon" feels compelled to tell you why Jon is hooked on pornography, and this is where the ship begins to sink into a sea of sexism. Rather than just leaving it at dialogue that states that addicts enjoy the fantasy over reality, Jon has to tell us that all real women primarily want is the missionary position. Considering his success ratio, it's impossible to believe that not one of those hot women he picked up was willing to do anything remotely freaky. "I can't lose myself in them like I do in porn," he tells us.
Once his conquests become part of the blame, "Don Jon" introduces four women, three of whom are the cringe-worthy constructs of teasing harpy shrew girlfriend, overbearing mother and silent witness. ScarJo plays the girlfriend, who rightfully freaks out when she discovers Jon's pastime, but is otherwise such an awful high-maintenance, pushy, arrogant stereotype that the deck unfairly gets stacked against her. "Don Jon" even ranks on ScarJo for trying to get Jon into night classes so he can get a better job, and their last scene together is an unnecessary, ugly grab for sympathy for Jon. This could have been a fine comic character, warts and all, but the script leaves ScarJo with too few notes to play. 041b061a72