As directorial debuts by actors go, Don Jon is an auspicious one.
Too many of these projects are vanity affairs, the chance for the actor to try get all the focus. Alternatively, it's a form of therapy, acted out in front of a camera and broadcast to the world.
But in the case of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wrote, directed and stars, there's an actual vision here -- a sensibility which will be interesting to follow in the future, assuming he does it again.
Even if he doesn't, Don Jon is a winner, a bold, provocative and funny tale of the ultimate self-obsession -- a man with an addiction to pornography who doesn't view himself as an addict. Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is a New Jersey-born Italian-American who seems to have his life in order: He loves his life and keeps it just so, from the spic-and-span apartment to the carefully toned body to his weekly visits to both his parents and his church.
And the women: He's a clubland Casanova, dancing and wooing the hottest women in each venue, eventually taking them home for a quick round in bed. But even as they drift off to sleep, Jon drifts into the other room, opens his laptop and finishes himself off. He has, after all, the perfect women at his fingertips and knows better than anyone just what satisfies him.
In other words, he's got his world under control: no messy emotional connections, no worries (other than perpetual nagging from his mother about settling down and having kids). He's got a job, he goes to confession and does his penance as a way of counting reps while working out at the gym. He is the envy of his friends, who can't match him in his success rate with women.
Then he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who forces him to take his game to a new level.
This review continues on my website.