Sunday, May 14, 2017

Movie review: Don Jon

Jon's romantic escapades have garnered him the nickname Don Jon among his friends who admire his ability to bed beautiful women seemingly at will. But his affection for adult films begins to seep into, and damage, his relationships in unexpected ways.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Jon), Scarlett Johansson (Barbara), Julianne Moore (Esther), Tony Danza (Jon Sr.), Glenne Headly (Angela), Brie Larson (Monica), Rob Brown (Bobby), Jeremy Luke (Danny).

Don Jon begins nicely with some background and character introductions before gliding smoothly to the main storyline. What we find is that Jon, who objectifies everything in his life including women, struggling with real life physical intimacy that doesn't compare to the excitement he finds in adult films. Through some plot twists and confrontation, Jon begins to realize he may have a problem and eventually, that changing his behavior may lead to a better love life.

Billed as a Late Night Comedy, and there were some laughs, this felt more like a drama than it did a comedy. While the story is well detailed in the film, and somewhat enjoyable, manipulation by Barbara was an obvious gender flip. Jon then engages with Esther which feels almost completely out of character on several levels. The obvious intent here was a character study but on that level the film really didn't show us anything new.

Acting was interesting if nothing else. Gordon-Levitt delivered pretty well and obviously buffed up physically for the film, which he also wrote and directed. Johansson was decent though she was a hard sell as a Jersey girl. Moore delivered well but again, felt a bit mismatched with Levitt. Danza was fun and worked well with others in the cast, as did Headly, Brown, and the remainder of the supporting cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were mild but enjoyable and fitting. Dialogue was decent with nice depth and plot movement. Sound and soundtrack were okay.

Overall Don Jon is entertaining, though it may not provide the laughs advertised let alone much emotional impact. Those who enjoy a somewhat bland drama with dark humor bits should enjoy this one. Those looking for intensity may be disappointed.

With plenty of strong sexuality, nudity, foul language, and mild violence, this should be fine for older teens and above.

Released: 2013
Reviewed: 4.26.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Indie Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Late Night Comedy, Romance, Drama

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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