TIFF 2013 Review: Don Jon
Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut is a 90-minute assault on your senses and sensibilities. While he is convincing playing a stereotypical Jersey Shore ladies man obsessed with pornography and masturbation, Levitt as a director throws a lot of the things in the wall in the hopes that, forgive me, something will stick.
While some does, most falls flat. Levitt inserts commentary on Jersey shore life, Italian families, Catholic forgiveness, gender roles, love versus lust, bromance, anger, loss, guilt, and sexuality. Even as the film opens, Jon, who is occasionally likeable though rarely believable, says he only cares of few things in life before spewing off a lengthy list.
The final one, after family and friends and church, is porn. His habit, or addiction perhaps, has him enjoy the digital world more than the real one, a real one that includes a vixen played by Scarlett Johansson. When she stumbles upon his other love, however, she flips out and makes him swear he will never surf again.
Levitt touches upon an interesting concept, but there is too much noise and adrenaline elsewhere in this often hysterical but often annoying debut. His father (Tony Danza) curses endlessly; his mother wants a grandchildren; his sister only texts; his best buds cruise clubs; his priest offers arbitrary penance. Jon also has road rage and atones at the gym. And that’s all before he is forced to take night school and ends up meeting a classmate (Julianne Moore) who embraces porn and sexuality. It’s exhausting.
Tuesday September 10 – Princess of Wales – 6:30 PM
Wednesday September 11 – Ryerson Theatre – 3:00 PM