Thursday, 20 February 2014

Don Jon: Blu Ray Review

Don Jon: Blu Ray Review


Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment

Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes and directs this piece about New Jersey guy Jon, a modern day Don Juan, who has an addiction to internet porn.He's a serial objectifier, always talking about women in clubs with ratings - from a 1 to the perfect dime (a 10); he loves his car, his boys and his home. But the addiction to porn has left him unable to form a relationship with anyone other than one night stands, because the sex is not as good as he believes the porn to be.

However, this cocksure attitude takes a bit of a knock when he meets the "dime" Barbara Sugarman (a voluptuous Scarlett Johansson) in a club. When she fails to fall for his schtick and one night stand hopes, he ends up pursuing her, believing her to be the one. Their relationship blossoms - but not without pitfalls.


Sugarman's addicted to romantic comedies (as portrayed with good humour by Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway, Cuba Gooding Jr and Meagan Good) and the ideal of the perfect man, which means she tries to start to change him. And things get worse when Sugarman finds Jon using internet porn after their first night together...

Don Jon is a gratifyingly assured directorial debut from  Joseph Gordon-Levitt; its frenetic opening and statements on the objectification of women in life and the media today (fromPhoebe Cates' iconic red bikini to the jiggling women of the Benny Benassi video, through to the antics of porn stars on screen) sets out the stall right away. With his dead eyes, slicked back hair and stoic dedication to serial masturbation, Joseph Gordon-Levitt fully commits to the role of the man addicted to the sound of the computer being turned on (in more ways than one).

The start of the film is extremely confident, as Jon and Barbara begin their relationship in amid the frustrated lust and humour of taking a girl to meet the parents (Who's The Boss' Tony Danza is the perfect dolt of a New Jersey father) and Gordon-Levitt's got a wry take on the Catholic church randomly dishing out Hail Marys at confessions, but mid way through the piece, it starts to falter a little, leaving it with the feeling of being two movies spliced quickly together as one.


The second half concentrates on Jon's relationship with Esther (played by Julianne Moore) that he meets at night classes and it's full of moments which feel forced and unnatural because there's been no time to build up and invest in the characters. Esther finds Jon watching porn on his mobile after Sugarman's ban - and the next time she sees him, she gives him a porn DVD; it just feels rushed and unreal in the world that  Joseph Gordon-Levitt has already created. It's a shame because the tonal shift is quite jarring and doesn't quite gel.

Sure, Don Jon is a stylish and impressive piece, but it falters in its overall mission. But as a mission statement for writer/ director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it's a great start - and shows this guy is clearly on the up.


Extras: Short film, making of, Joe's hats

Rating:

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