‘Don Jon’ delights

Film Review Don Jon
This film image released by Relativity Media shows Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a scene from “Don Jon.” (Courtesy of AP)

Even though “Don Jon” bills itself as a movie about a man struggling with his addiction to porn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s slick writing, confident directing and pristine acting make it into much, much more.

Gordon-Levitt plays the film’s title character, an Italian stallion of sorts that loves his hair gel just as much, if not more, than his own mother.

On the weekends, Jon can be found out with his group of equally gelled friends, taking home a different woman each night. That is until Jon meets Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, an Italian bombshell that Jon falls head over heels for.

Like all relationships, Jon and Barbara’s has its share of ups and downs, but as Barbara starts imposing her own rules, like “no vacuuming your own floors” (a task Jon truly loves to do), cracks in the relationship’s foundation begin to form.

However, a major fault arises once Barbara catches Jon watching porn, a habit he swore to her he didn’t partake in.

One of Barbara’s relationship stipulations was for Jon to start attending night classes at a local community college. It is there that Jon meets Esther, a recently widowed pothead played by Julianne Moore.

Whereas Barbara is constricting and, frankly, rude, Esther is free spirited, spontaneous and congenial.

While “Don Jon” has a strong rom-com story arc at its core, the movie is also an interesting look at Gordon-Levitt’s view on popular culture and media. And believe me, he doesn’t hold back.

All types of forms of the medium, from hamburger commercials to the typical Hollywood rom-coms, get caught in Gordon-Levitt’s critical crossfire.

It’s here where JGL’s confidence as a director comes through. “Don Jon” is Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut and its quite bold to make comments on the traditional Hollywood system in one’s first outing. Risky or not, it works.

The only complaint I can really draw from “Don Jon” is Gordon-Levitt’s lacking ending. Something about it seems rushed, contrived and completely off-theme for the movie.

It’s almost as if Gordon-Levitt didn’t realize that he was reenacting the same cheesy rom-com ending he was blasting ten scenes ago.

However, let’s cut him some slack, not many entertainers can say they wrote, directed and starred in their own projects. “Don Jon” is a must.

“Don Jon” opens in theaters nationwide today.

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