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Don Jon

Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen. ‘Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy reunites with girl’. That same tired cliché has been fused into an endless stream of rom-coms. Whether they are actually funny is another thing with most being forgettable. Written and directed by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, ‘Don Jon’ provides a different twist to the genre. In a confident directorial debut, Levitt deftly explores the world of modern relationships with a style similar films desperately lack.

Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) objectifies everything in life. Cars, women, the church and his family are all on his radar. His friends nickname him ‘Don Jon’ for his abilities with the ladies. Also addicted to online adult entertainment, Jon decides he wants a more meaningful existence. Beginning a romance with two different women, Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and Esther (Julianne Moore), both provide sharp life lessons for the macho lothario in ways he couldn’t have imagined.

‘Don Jon’ is a very raunchy comedy without being crude. Martello’s endless on-line adult addiction sees him tackling relationships without feeling. He’s totally consumed by the fantasy cyberspace creates instead of focussing on real life. The women he meets slowly attempt to draw him away from this. These elements are skilfully highlighted with Gordon-Levitt packing much into the brisk runtime.

Gordon-Levitt shines in a solid acting role. Martello oozes machismo and feels all too real. The acting honours ultimately go to Johansson and Moore who have always given excellent performances. They are well suited to their roles here, bringing more dimension than the script may have had.

There’s not much else to say about ‘Don Jon’ except it’s a solid anti-romantic comedy. Gordon-Levitt shows much promise with his insightful direction and script. The minefield of relationships are skewered with ease with ‘Don Jon’ lingering in the memory.

Rating out of 10: 8

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