Film review: Don Jon - a romantic comedy in which the male lead is obsessed with porn

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 90 mins Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore (18)

Geoffrey Macnab@TheIndyFilm
Thursday 14 November 2013 22:00
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserves credit for his chutzpah. It's a very brazen idea to make a romantic comedy in which the male lead, Jon (Gordon-Levitt), is obsessed with porn. "Nothing else does it for me," he proudly tells us.

Jon is handsome and charming enough to pick up plenty of girlfriends. Being with them, though, doesn't compare to his onanistic and private reveries in front of his computer. Problems inevitably arise when he falls in love with the glamorous Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who refuses to be in a three-way relationship with Jon and his laptop.

The tone of the storytelling is disconcertingly lighthearted. Gordon-Levitt isn't making an angst-ridden psycho-drama about sex addiction, like Steve McQueen's Shame. Jon is a clean-cut, all-American type, a bodybuilder and a good Catholic who just so happens to be a fan of watching sex online. There is something engaging about the ingenuous way he defends his solitary and furtive habits. "Movies and porn are different, Jon. They give awards for movies," he is told. "They give awards for porno, too," Jon protests.

Gordon-Levitt adds an extra layer of subversion to an already mischievous tale through the introduction of a third main character, Esther (Julianne Moore), an older woman who teaches Jon the importance of emotional engagement – but also teaches him that smoking a lot of dope can help with human interaction, too.

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