A round of applause for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon. It’s not a classic, but it is enjoyable, and its porn-addiction plot device isn’t used as much as a crutch as you’d expect. And at just 90 minutes, it’s the right length. It may not end with the full “rom-com” resolution, but when it ends, it’s at just the right time.
If there’s a deeper message here, it’s that people use porn as a salve or a way to “escape,” or as Don Jon himself puts it, “to lose myself.” But porn isn’t the only escape of choice: His girlfriend, played by Scarlett Johansson, uses “chick flicks,” unrealistic portrayals of love and romance. Julianne Moore uses sex itself as an escape from a very deep and very recent emotional wound. Jon’s father uses football, his mother uses hope for grandchildren, and his sister uses constant phone texting. Everybody uses something, and who’s to say whose medicine is less acceptable than others?
Three out of five, and a fine first directorial effort. Four out of five for Julianne Moore, who does an awful lot with very little.