Too much sex.
If you want three words that sum up Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon it is too much sex. The film is about a guy with a porn addiction attempting to hold down a relationship, so obviously there will be sexual content. However, there was no need for the material to be this frequent or explicit. I’m not a prude, but the sexual scenes were not congruent with the rest of the film and therefore could not be justified. Or maybe that’s the point – have I been missing something? Are we supposed to feel uncomfortable and put out by the sexual content? I’m sure we probably are, but its use was to the detriment of the story which had so much potential but was constantly interrupted. Never before has the sight of a boob annoyed me so much.
Don Jon should have been an indie film in the vein of Gordon-Levitt’s previous work. That’s what we know and love about him. What he tried to do was far too ambitious and possibly impossible to achieve, even for an experienced director. The characters had depth but we were never allowed to see it. Julianne Moore was great but underused. Scarlett Johansson was too unlikable. It could have been better. It should have been better.
This will not win Oscars but JGL is a rising star in Hollywood and will no doubt charm a few people to consider his film. But voters still have brains (really, they do) and this is not even nearly strong enough to compete.