He Said, She Said at the Movies: Don Jon - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

He Said, She Said at the Movies: Don Jon

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I LOVE JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT. Okay, that's the positive. Now let's discuss everything else about his terrible movie. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed with Don Jon. It has an incredible cast featuring very likeable lead actors, but the movie never really goes anywhere. The movie tells the story of a New Jersey guy (think Jersey Shore) who loves his family, friends and is dedicated to his church. However, he struggles with intimacy and finding his true love, mostly because he's influenced by unrealistic expectations of online pornography.

But there's one HUGE problem. It doesn't truly explore what it's like to have an addiction to pornography; it doesn't really commit enough to the clash between Don Jon's religious beliefs and his everyday lifestyle. It just kind of exists. Don't get me wrong, the performances are solid across the board, but the dialogue they are working with doesn't reach the caliber of some of these actors. Tony Danza steals every scene he's in playing Don Jon's father, and Glenne Headly (who I haven't seen in years) has plenty of great moments as the mother.

The movie struggles to be profound and thought-provoking and the self-assured direction didn't make up for a movie I found to have low expectations when it comes to the intellectual capacity of its audience. Gordon-Levitt, who wrote and directed the movie (his first), struggles with creating a protagonist that we can relate to. And while I'm not saying we have to feel like we can predict Don Jon's every move, I found him to be a pretty one-dimensional character. Everything finally comes together for him when his sister Monica steps up at the dinner table (played by Brie Larson, who has one line of dialogue the entire movie) to tell him that he's better off without his girlfriend (played by Scarlett Johansson). Then Julianne Moore swoops in, with an insanely mishandled back story of her husband and son dying in a car crash, to teach him about true love and a healthy sexual relationship.

All in all, I didn't really care if the protagonist overcame his struggles. Don Jon is a disgusting, degrading, foul-mouthed, demeaning punk. And Scarlett Johansson, who plays his girlfriend Barbara, is manipulative, ignorant and incredibly boring. Women like romantic comedies. Men like watching pornography. These are clichéd topics, and Gordon-Levitt doesn't advance any of these issues beyond stereotypes. And the movie is basically made up of a redundant collection of scenes: Don Jon at church, Don Jon watching pornography, Don Jon working out, Don Jon with his family, Don Jon picking up women, and Don Jon having the least intelligent and over-the-top offensive conversations friends could possibly have about women and romance. It's a skip it for me. I had high expectations for this movie, but it tried to do way too much, while leaving me with very little.

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