Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the most interesting actors of his generation - consistently picking good projects. Now with "Don Jon," he shows he's an insightful and talented writer and director.
It's a character study very cleverly disguised as a raunchy romantic comedy. This is a movie about sex, but Gordon-Levitt's film is an indictment of how our culture uses it - from pornography to sexualized hamburger ads.
His character, Jon, is like a rejected cast member from "Jersey Shore" - a greaser gym rat with a very specific set of priorities: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, and his porn. That last part is important, and it colors how he sees the world around him - even when he meets the stunning Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson.
Jon's view of women as objects through his porn addiction is poisoning him, and it catches up to him, threatening to ruin his new-found relationship.
"Don Jon" is a keenly observed look at relationships and addiction, but it's also laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving at times. I love the supporting cast, too, especially Julianne Moore as a world-wise woman in Jon's life, and Tony Danza of all people as Jon's dad.
The movie certainly isn't for the prudish - it was toned down a little to avoid an NC-17 rating. But it's so far beyond a raunch comedy, and proof Gordon-Levitt is an even more talented artist than I originally thought.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * * 1/2
Out of five stars