Disappointing ‘Don’

Despite a remarkably self-assured directorial debut by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and stars, Don Jon is not a film I can recommend. It’s as crass as the pornography it depicts, and ends up being to sex what Natural Born Killers was to violence, although the latter film survived on style points alone, which Don Jon can’t quite do.

The film certainly has a point to make, and it hammers home that point quite well a couple of times, embracing the vulgarity it’s supposedly criticizing. (Oooh, clever. Eh, not really.) It does improve when it focuses on religious hypocrisy and when Julianne Moore arrives, but the other characters aren’t really characters – they are caricatures lacking any subtlety or relatability. Scarlett Johansson is better than expected, but Tony Danza is simply not up to the task. (Or perhaps he was just doing the best he could with the script, which needed more intelligence and smart humor.) When all is said and done, it’s not  a bad movie (2 stars on 0-5 scale), but think how good it could have been if it had more successfully juggled its over-the-top style with the real story of addiction and heartache that lay behind its vulgar flashiness.

2 Responses to “Disappointing ‘Don’”
  1. Sonny Zappa says:

    What a disappointment. Having been a fan of Tony Danza for over 30 years to “can not believe” he took this part. The Tony I knew and loved is gone..

  2. cameron says:

    Thanks for the comment, Sonny. I don’t dislike Tony Danza, but I just felt something didn’t gel with that role. Bad casting or bad writing, or both. (Hey, sorry it took me so long to approve your comment. It got dumped into the spam folder by mistake.)