Sunday, December 29, 2013
Video review: "Don Jon"
If you thought "The Wolf of Wall Street" was raunchy, then take a look at "Don Jon," the directing debut of star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The funny/sad tale of a lothario who's obsessed with Web pornography and one-night stands, it gives "Wolf" a run for its money in the flesh department.
For those who aren't put off by a story that's all about sex, "Don Jon" is actually a rather charming movie. It's about a guy who thinks he's got it all figured out, hurts a lot of people carelessly and gets hurt himself, and gradually discovers there's more to life than the bits between his legs.
Scarlett Johansson is terrific as Barbara, the girl Don falls hard for. They trade Jersey accents, a lot of sass and not a little electricity between them.
Of course, it's bound to happen that his online activities throw a wrench into his real-life romance. It's around here the movie goes a little sideways, with Don encountering an older woman (Julianne Moore) at his community college classes who gives him something else to think about.
It's a trenchantly observant movie that knows its character and community down to the ground. I liked the way Don's family dinners devolve into vitriol and screaming, or how he can drive like a demon out of hell, screaming at other motorists, while being a devout church man. The movie shows these contrasts and foibles without making the narrative seem any less human.
"Don Jon" isn't great movie, but it's quite a good one for a first-time director, not to mention a lot more daring than most filmmakers are right out of the gate.
Video goodies are rather sparse, with a standard making-of documentary and a few behind-the-scenes featurettes, including one on the origins of the Don Jon character and another on the hats worn by one of his wingmen.