Don Jon (18)

Film

Romance

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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Time Out says

Tue Nov 12 2013

Packaged as an edgy romcom, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a feature writer-director, ‘Don Jon’, takes a wry look at why consumerism in relationships is bad news for boys and girls. On the blokes’ side, we’ve got Jon (Gordon-Levitt), nicknamed after the famous Spanish libertine. A fabled local lothario in New Jersey, framed in every shot as the star of his own world, he gets more sexual kicks from the lissom lovelies of hardcore pornography than he does his flesh and blood conquests.

His counterpart is Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Her romantic ideal is also founded on illusion, but where Jon’s eyes glaze over when lost in a world of laptop-based humping and pumping, her pupils dilate under the influence of an unreal cocktail of clichés derived from fluffy romcoms. Jon and Barbara suffer from the same disease, with different symptoms.

As a director, Gordon-Levitt demonstrates considerable technical flair through stylistic flourishes and coaxes great performances out of his co-stars, while he remains centre stage throughout. Be prepared for at least two shifts of gear in the story which mark the film’s clearly outlined three acts – but perhaps this is less a flaw in the film than in our expectations of where a movie like this might be heading. Redemption might not be on the cards for everybody.

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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Nov 15, 2013

Duration:

90 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|29
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Pip

It zings along, playing with gender stereotypes, and is laugh out loud funny at times. The repeated motifs are clever but begin to dull, but the characters are full of flaws and interest. As a first time JGL, it's a good un.

Justin Berkovi

This is a 4 star film but I'm giving it 5 because it's a great first time effort from a really fantastic actor in Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's been a fave of mine since his very edgy performances in Mysterious Skin and Brick. This is a light film but works on many levels. It zips along well with a great natural script and effortlessly good performances from the cast. I really enjoyed it and recommend it!

Justin Berkovi

This is a 4 star film but I'm giving it 5 because it's a great first time effort from a really fantastic actor in Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's been a fave of mine since his very edgy performances in Mysterious Skin and Brick. This is a light film but works on many levels. It zips along well with a great natural script and effortlessly good performances from the cast. I really enjoyed it and recommend it!

Paul

I agree with MikeT (and other reviewers here) but thought he was a tad unfair with his 2* as this is a neatly told and witty story of young male vs. female views of the world, dating and sex. Very much a story told through a man's eyes and a contrast to the romcom pulp usually served up. As an ex-catholic I particularly liked the confessional scenes and how they developed throughout the film and the benchmark of Hail Mary and Lord's Prayers awarded, it really was like that for me too! As a night out I give it 4*, not an oscar film, but competently done

MikeT

As I said in my review of "Gravity", Time Out was great when it was paid for - it had no need to suck up to advertisers - reviews were fairly reliable. TO's review of Don Jon is way too generous - 4 star reviews should put a movie in the league of Oscar nominated films, and this isn't going to receive award nominations. Joseph Gordon Levitt's a great actor - I particularly liked "50/50". But, though this is a good starting point in a joint writing/acting career, it's not worthy of 4 stars. The choices of co-stars is good - Julianne Moore is absolutely excellent as the 'older woman'. Though I find Scarlett Johansson a very convincing actress, somehow she didn't come across as well in this as she did in films like Vicky Christina Barcelona. The Don Jon storyline is quite good, but there are definitely overtones of Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever, and the story was just too predictable for my liking - I found I couldn't care less for any of the characters. I hope JGL will continue to write/act/direct. But this movie's definitely only worthy of 5/10 or 2.5 stars.

Luisa

Don Jon is hilarious without pretending to be funny, which is great. Some of the best moments in the film are in Don Jon's parents house. I was very impressed with JGL, being him behind the camera and the writing. I would strongly recommend it!

Mr Stone

Excellent movie and great reminder that similarly romantic comedies can change and create unrealistic expectations of relationships like can porn films. Great performances from the whole team, super entertaining movie also.

Mr Stone

Excellent movie and great reminder that similarly romantic comedies can change and create unrealistic expectations of relationships like can porn films. Great performances from the whole team, super entertaining movie also.

Phil

Ok, so maybe things are slightly Hollywoodised in this movie but its a true representation of so many men out there. Its fun and entertaining, worth a watch.

Polly

I won't say its going to change your life but I was really impressed with JGL's writing, directing, acting etc Great cast, good fun and feels very much of our time. Would definitely recommend!

Bowen Greggs

I really enjoyed this film, a refreshing change from formulaic Hollywood Rom-Coms. It has elements of Saturday Night Fever with JGL strutting his way to Confession. Thought the film was too black and white in parts and could have explored other concepts such as the fact that some couples watch porn together as a stimulant during s ex? I did like the films themes of self control, addiction, anger v mellow, and controlling relationships

Elaine

This film provided a fresh funny look at the pressures of modern society on men, women and relationships, and it does entertain, however too much time was given to the relationship with Scarlett Johansson. She plays the role really well, but it seemed like they covered her and JGL's relationship for too long, purely for the sake of having her on screen. Could have done with a bit more time spent on the relationship with Julianne Moore, which was subtle, touching and interesting.

Asma

Certainly worth a view - JGL has his finger on the pulse of what life and romance has become for us late twenty-somethings. It does fall short in its attempt to derive meaning by the end but certainly an enjoyable film nonetheless.

Brett

Too many awkward realist moments - not a good date movie! Also didn't like the hand held camcorder feel.

Christina

Perfect for a good while with your friends. It is a little bit slowly, but is interesting to follow it.

Juan Carlos

Totally agree with Talat. A film that ends too suddenly and unsatisfactorily. A film that had it have been 30 minutes longer and then could have been a four star satisfying film. Good but not great 3 star film

Alice Walker

I really enjoyed Don Jon. The ending made me enjoy it even more as it wasnt what I expected. The movie gave a 'deep' insight in to a males thinking process. The cast was great too, Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and writer-director. Thanks Time Out.

Alice Walker

I really enjoyed Don Jon. The ending made me enjoy it even more as it wasnt what I expected. The movie gave a 'deep' insight in to a males thinking process. The cast was great too, Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and writer-director. Thanks Time Out.

refugee03

Thanks, TimeOut, for the opportunity to see this. It's the third Scarlett Johansson movie I've seen in 6 weeks (two in theatres, one on my laptop), and I must say, she's really maturing as an actress. The pacing was great, the supporting cast brilliant, and the storyline contemporary and novel. However, I felt the ending a bit to facile, and chopped. Without giving anything away, it didn't resolve anything for me, and left me feeling that the writer had gotten bored with his own script and put it down...

Talat Gokdemir

'Don Jon' is probably one of the best 'so-so' films ever made. On one hand, you have a great cast with good pacing and fun comedic elements, on the other hand a script which ignores the 3 act structure, choosing to end the film hastily during the end of the 2nd act. It's a shame really - the protagonist has real issues stemming from his family, religion, social circle but the abrupt ending only offers a resolution which comes across as sketchy rather than genuine.

Jordan

Great movie with a great story and very well put together. The ending is quick and leaves us wanting more. Thank you Timeout for the preview, I am eternally grateful!

Sahin Gorur

Quite possibly the funniest and endearing film I have ever seen. I have never seen a packed cinema all laugh in unison! It was funny, quirky and had every guy in the room nodding their heads the whole way through. I'm already booking to see it again and can't thank TimeOut enough for the free preview tickets - legends!

Sahin Gorur

Quite possibly the funniest and endearing film I have ever seen. I have never seen a packed cinema all laugh in unison! It was funny, quirky and had every guy in the room nodding their heads the whole way through. I'm already booking to see it again and can't thank TimeOut enough for the free preview tickets - legends!

Matt Brereton

The film is Joesph Gordon-Levitt's writing and directorial debut, and at times it shows. It's a fairly slim and rather one-dimensional premise to sustain across a full-length feature - that someone who spends their life immersed in internet porn naturally becomes disengaged from what is meaningful and real in life - with the inevitable redemption at the (very) last minute. Gordon-Levitt's character is fairly unlikable throughout, which is all part of the set-up, I guess, but did everything in the film - plotting, character, gags - all have to be so one-dimensional too? There's no emotional complexity, and so little nuance. This is no doubt deliberate but, WE GET IT... he's just not a very nice guy - in fact we all got this after about the first five minutes, and as a result we just don't care about him that much until he starts to grow up - about five minutes from the end of the film. There are some decent cameos - Scarlett Johansson enjoys herself royally as a New Joisey princess with a figure to die for and dreams of domesticating her man, while Tony Danza as Jon's vest-wearing, sports-loving dinner-table patriarch comes close to stealing the show more than once. Worth a watch, I suppose, and entertaining in fits and starts, but this is not the kooky, funny and ultimately rewarding 'anti-romcom' that, say, Silver Linings Playbook so effortlessly was, and that I sneakingly suspect Gordon-Levett was trying to emulate.

paula mellon

A very funny - and true film, tackling the links between porn-life and real-life, which I think they handled really well. Both sides of the coin were showed. Don't be put off by the porno theme, it isn't that type of film. I especially loved Don Jon's rtaditional Italian parents, both fabulously acted, and the church scenes had me chuckling. Well woth a watch.