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A Review of the 2013 Film "Don Jon"

2 out of 5
A Review of the 2013 Film "Don Jon"

His friends supposedly call him “Don” Jon because of all the girls he gets, but a) they don’t use the nickname often enough to back up Jon’s claims, and b) the film is more about Jon’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) addiction to online porn and how it interferes with his reality, as opposed to focusing on the girls he actually scores with, so the movie’s title should have been something like “Fantasy-Addled Jon,” as opposed to Don Jon.  But I digress.

Several folks, including the late legendary film critic Roger Ebert and the Italian-American One Voice Coalition, took issue with the fact that JGL, who both wrote and directed the film (which was also produced by his hitRECord production company), wrote a script that contained numerous “racist stereotypes of Italian Americans.”  Of course, the idiots on Jersey Shore can make millions of dollars for doing the same “gym, tan, laundry” routine and no one gives them guff, but JGL tries something similar and takes the heat.  Makes sense.

In any event, there are some elements that were a bit over-the-top when it came to the depiction of a “typical” Italian-American family, like how the men in the family wear matching wife-beaters while relaxing at home.  Or how every dinner conversation erupts into an argument in front of the football-emitting television.  Or how Jon is so hot-tempered that he consistently road-rages, even punching out some guy’s window with, ultimately, zero repercussions. 

But don’t worry, his sins are washed clean away every week when he goes to church and claims he’s “sorry” for the things he’s done and will continue to do again anyway the following week. 

What is perhaps most annoying about the whole controversy is that Jon’s Jersey Shore clone adds nothing to the story.  Jon could have been any other douchebag who hangs out in clubs and brings home the first hoodrat he sees.  We could have even done without meeting his family because they didn’t bring anything to the story either. 

I prefer JGL in his 500 Days of Summer mode - hell, I’ll even take Looper JGL.  His portrayal here did nothing for his resume - at least as far as his acting credits are concerned.  Though, if the critics are to be acknowledged, the film didn’t help his writing or directing cred either.

The plot of Don Jon isn’t much more than Jon masturbating furiously to internet porn, of which we see plenty of in spliced shots, and then ultimately losing his hot girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) because he simply can’t help himself, claiming that masturbating to porn is better than real sex. 

You think that she’ll (Barbara) be Jon’s porn fantasy come to life and that he’ll never need digital stimulation again, but no.  The one woman who can finally break him of his habit is...Julianne Moore?  Dafuq?  Because we totally believe that a guy like Jon would alter the course of his life for a woman who is old enough to be his mother, a guy who can only get his rocks off otherwise to pornstar-looking women - right. Though, at least he doesn’t have to worry about committing to her, and that’s probably the whole point.  Still, I’d like to see his family’s reaction to that one. 

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