Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Final Cut Call: Don Jon

Nicholas Sparks flicks are as damaging to your romantic relationships as porn.

That's the message being spread by Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's cracking directorial debut which depicts porn/sex addiction infinitely more realistically – and rollickingly – than 2011's absurdly-overrated snoozefest Shame.

Not that I'm an expert on the sordid subject.

Gordon-Levitt is Jon "Don Jon" Martello, a ladies man in the mold of one of the rejects from Jersey Shore — heavy on the shoulder presses and even heavier on the internet smut. Dude's MacBook exists solely for consuming pics – more often, tubes – of women nastier than a Porta-Potty at a construction site.

A womanizer of Tommy Lee proportions – the tangible never equaling the adrenal rush of the virtual – Jon hooks up with Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), a prudish-by-Jon's-slutty-standards "dime" of mind-blowing curves coupled with that insanely-annoying Jersey accent. His wandering eye semi-tamed with a hellaciously-hot babe, Jon goes the domesticated route, cutting down – not cutting out – his visits to Pornhub.

But Barbara has some lofty as-seen-in-romantic-movie standards, demanding her man better himself by taking classes at the local community college, cramping Jon's freewheeling style, though introducing him to a free-spirited cougar (Julianne Moore) seeking some action on the side.

With mom (Glenne Headly) and dad (Tony Danza positively killing it) of the belief Ms. Sugarman is the one for their son, Jon – back to abusing porn – gets dumped, the best thing that could've happened to his objectification-of-everything lifestyle.

Crisply directed – in particular, the slickly-sequenced intro – with clever use of Mac's startup chime throughout, Gordon-Levitt displays a deft hand behind the cam, while his sprightly script is scarily spot-on with its keen observations on modern relationships — the millennial knows of what he speaks.

That's not to say the screenplay's without flaws, Moore's all-over-the-map character feels shoehorned in; her attraction to – and dalliance with – Jon doesn't ring true.

However one of the movie's big takeaways undoubtedly hits home: Fantasy doesn't match reality for men or women.

Not that either sex needed a reminder.

Final Cut Score: 92%