Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) loves him some porn.
Don’t get him wrong, he loves having sex with actual women, too. And he gets plenty. PLENTY. Out at the club with the boys, he pulls 8’s, minimum; I mean, his friends don’t call him “The Don” for nothing. But nothing compares to his porn, so much so that he’ll generally fire one off solo after that evening’s dance partner has fallen asleep and the sound of his Mac’s startup chime gives him an erection.
Enter The Dime.
Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) has got it all going on. Jon’s cheeseball pal Danny might try to nitpick because he’s got no shot (and no game), but The Don is full speed ahead. Until she’s slams on the brakes and then peels out in a taxi, that is. This one requires the long game, a slow play perhaps. After doing lunch, they hit a movie; mind you, despite preferring porn to real sex, Jon’s not a big movie guy ’cause they’re too unrealistic. Then Jon learns their friends also have to meet, she has to meet his family and he has to do some night school to seal the deal. And, oh yeah, she hates porn. But it’s worth it for a dime, right? What does the future hold for Mr. and Mrs. Jersey Shore? And what’s the deal with that crazy broad, Esther (Julianne Moore), in his night class?
JGL’s creative debut — in addition to playing the lead, he wrote and directed the film — shows a ton of potential, like a 7.5 that could be a 10 if you dressed her up right. The writing is tight and snappy and his character is well written. As a new filmmaker, he shows a knack for plotting, juxtaposition and comedic timing, but his lack of experience is also evident. The disjointed pacing between acts makes it feel like two different movies; while the hits keep rolling on the front end, the tempo starts to wane as the film progresses and the space between gags makes you wonder how he kept such a pace to begin with. Sometimes you wonder if it’s just a 90-minute PornHub ad.
Gordon-Leavitt’s acting chops are not in question, however, and he tackles this wiseass, Jersey guido with aplomb. Johansson is equally well cast as the stunning, shallow succubus. Tony Danza absolutely shines as Jon Sr., his best role in years, admittedly an easy feat since half of the target audience has likely never known the joy of Who’s the Boss. Let’s just say his career was darkest before the Don.
Fair warning: this is decidedly NOT a romantic comedy, so don’t drag your significant other along for date night without first understanding the trailer only scratches the surface of the movie’s delightful vulgarity.
Don Jon is hilarious and original but it’s almost as rough around the edges as its main character. She’s a good girl and she’ll show you a real good time, but this might not be the movie you take home to show the folks. You have your fun with Don Jon and fall asleep with a grin on your face but you might never call her again. And that’s OK.
How so, Dave?
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