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Don Jon
BLU-RAY disk
02.06.2014 By: Chris Bumbray
Don Jon order download
Director:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Actors:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Scarlett Johansson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fancies himself a modern Don Juan. He spends his nights clubbing, and bedding a never ending series of one-night-stands, or as he calls it- “pulling tens”. But- as lucky as he is with the ladies, to Jon- nothing is better than the endless hours spent masturbating to porn in front of his laptop. When he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson)- he tries to change his game, as she won't fall for his usual tricks. But is he in love, or lust- and is his porn addiction as “regular” as he makes himself believe?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I saw this at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, back when it was called DON JON’S ADDICTION, and seemed pegged for an NC-17 rating. Its funny how quickly an NC-17 turned into an R when it was picked up in one of the biggest deals of the festival by Relativity, who gave it a wide release this fall. The movie wasn’t a huge box-office performer, with one of the lower cinema-scores of the season (C+), which shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone who noticed how it was being marketed as a kind of sexy rom-com but in reality, was something completely different.

If anything, DON JON tears down the conventions of romantic comedies, especially in regards to Don Jon’s dream girl, as played by Scarlett Johansson. Despite her beauty, she’s portrayed as a shrewish, hateful character, while he’s often pig-headed and selfish, and one imagines audiences expecting to watch likable Joseph Gordon- Levitt fall in love with stunning Johansson were shocked by the self-actualization message the film seems to preach. While both actors are excellent (along with a great supporting turn by Tony Danza as Levitt’s dad), people hate anything that’s different, and DON JON came and went from theaters relatively fast for a wide release film.

In my initial review, I said that DON JON-which Levitt also wrote and directed- was like an upbeat version of SHAME, although I think I missed the mark a bit. SHAME was about sex as an act of self-destruction, but while Jon is clearly deluded and superficial, sex isn’t his problem, but rather immaturity is. The film actually has something quite interesting to say about how the media builds up unrealistic expectations for people in their love lives, and both Levitt and Johansson’s characters are victims of this. She fully expects a man to tailor himself completely to her whims, simply because she’s beautiful, while he expects porn-level sex and lots of it, to the extent that he’s so underwhelmed by real-world sex that immediately post-coitus he has go and masturbate to porn. This is relevant stuff, but I guess audiences didn’t want reality and only fantasy, even if it was tied up in a stylish film that was imaginatively directed and fun to watch.

THE EXTRAS
DON JON comes with an array of fun featurettes even if for the most part they're pretty lightweight, focusing on Levitt's multitasking. Sadly, the disc does not come with a commentary track, which seems like a missed opportunity. The extras are rounded out by some internet shorts that are part of Levitt's HitRECord program, and come from an open submission campaign he did around the film's opening.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While it wasn’t the breakout success many predicted, DON JON nevertheless eventually found a (smallish) audience, and will likely be far more appreciated now that it’s on Blu-ray/VOD. If people don’t mind something a little different from their run-of-the-mill rom com they just may get something special out of DON JON.
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11:54AM on 02/06/2014
Wait- people masturbate to porn?? Wow, that explains a lot.
Wait- people masturbate to porn?? Wow, that explains a lot.
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7:21AM on 02/06/2014
While the message and themes were good, I thought that the humor was lacking and the characters were often uninteresting. It's far from a bad movie, but it did disappoint me a little.
While the message and themes were good, I thought that the humor was lacking and the characters were often uninteresting. It's far from a bad movie, but it did disappoint me a little.
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