Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are unable to satisfy each other in Don Jon.

Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are unable to satisfy each other in Don Jon.

REEL REVIEWS: A mixed reaction for Don Jon

Taylor and Howe take a look at the new offering from Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

  • Oct. 6, 2013 5:00 p.m.

Don Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a 20-something from New Jersey (he’s called the Don, due to his prowess with the ladies).

His priorities in life are his body, his ride, his pad, his boyz, his girls, his family, his church and his porn (yes, Internet porn, specifically. The Don is a dedicated enthusiast).

When he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), he falls greasy-head over expensive heels and decides to change his ways to become more like the man he feels she deserves.

Barbara soon discovers all of Jon’s priorities and has a bone to pick with him about his web browser’s history. She splits.

The widowed Esther (Julianne Moore) enters Jon’s life and explains to him that he’s a selfish, shallow brat who lies to himself about what he really wants from life and from love, about which she is correct, which leads to a happier, healthier Jon.

Then they too fall in love.

We say, “It’s… weird.”

TAYLOR: I was looking forward to this, I’m a fan of J. G-L and Scarjo, plus I kinda wanted it to succeed because it came from Levitt’s Internet idea farm, I think it’s a very interesting film, but I’m having trouble deciding if it’s good or not.

I think it might be one of those situations where a work of art either becomes a brilliant statement about a generation, or turns out to be a stupid film about stupid people, maybe both.

HOWE: I, on the other hand, am not a fan of Gordon-Levitt. I find him rather annoying with the whole smug git routine, but for some reason I really enjoyed his role in this.

As for Scarlett Johansson, what is the big deal with her? She’s not a great actress and even though her New Jersey accent was very good, it just seemed a little too fake coming out of her mouth.

TAYLOR: What we have here is a film about the superficial expectations of the Jersey Shore generation.

These are people more interested in what they are than who they are.

I think it illustrates well the societal norms created by pop culture, as they relate to our desires and the suffering they create.

All of the people in this film are unhappy, except the older people, who have figured out that the world is full of crap and the only things that matter are the same things that have mattered for all time.

As such, this is a very glossy, sexy, easily understood film about beautiful, vapid people that have nothing to offer the world except that which the world has programmed into them, unless perhaps you are one of those people.

HOWE: I think a lot of people will bypass this movie just because of the porn aspect.

I say, don’t let this movie pass you by. It’s funny, touching and deals with real problems and addictions, plus how we deny them.

I say congratulations to Gordon-Levitt for writing and directing such an original film.

Howe gives Don Jon 3.5 tissues out of 5.

Taylor gives it 4 clear browser caches out of 5.


Don Jon is currently showing at Galaxy Cinema in Vernon.