Going into Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon I was intrigued but very fearful that this latest actor turned director endeavor was flawed from the beginning due to the miscasting of himself in the lead role. Unfortunately my fears were only verified as Joseph Gordon-Levitt feels terribly miscast. Sure, he put on some muscle for the role but he still doesn't fit this stereotypically Jersey boy persona - a simple ladies man who spends his days in the gym and his nights in the clubs searching for his next prize. Early on the film spends a lot of time introducing the audience to his routine (gym, porn, church, family dinner, clubs), using repetitious editing and sound design that effectively captures the circular lifestyle he lives. When he meets Barbara one night in a club, things change for Don as he begins to fall hard for her. Don Jon is a film about overcoming addiction and compulsion but it never quite pulls off its themes mainly because of a storytelling approach that is far too simplistic for what it tries to achieve. Julianne Moore's character, Esther, is really the character which enacts change in Jon but the film's treatment of her character is paper thin. She is a woman who recently lost her husband and daughter in a car accident but the film fails completely at making the audience care at all on an emotional level. She serves her purpose but I really wanted her to have more dimension. Actually this kinda envelopes the whole problem in general with Don Jon, in that it lacks much focus on exactly what it's trying to say. Is it the red-headed step child with down-syndrome equivalent of Mcqueen's Shame? or a film that attempts to capture the essence of what is necessary for a relationship. It tries to touch on both of these themes,among others, which in turn makes neither very resonant. It almost seems that Gordon-Levitt himself wasn't sure through most of the film, but I must admit the theme revolving around the give and take of relationships and how it must be selfless is poignant, but it almost feels like it comes out of nowhere. So many movies these days capture this primitive archetype of relationships in which the male is the provider and responsible for taking care of everything and Don Jon does do a good job at presenting the absurdity of this notion. Joseph Gordon Levitt's Don Jon is an entertaining and comedic experience that's highest points ride on the charisma of Joseph Gordon-Levitt which somewhat mask the faults of the storytelling.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.