Don Jon: Jersey Boy (and Girl)

by Ethan Alter September 27, 2013 6:05 am
<i>Don Jon</i>: Jersey Boy (and Girl)

Before it flies off the rails in the final act, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first self-penned, self-directed star vehicle, Don Jon, is an uncommonly provocative spin on familiar rom-com tropes, one that challenges the "love is all you need" message of so many films of this type. It doesn't hurt that, as screenwriter, Gordon-Levitt has written himself and co-star Scarlett Johansson the best roles either of them have had recently, characters that start out as broad cartoons straight out of a Saturday Night Live skit, but gradually reveal emotional layers that alters our perception of them. And behind the camera, the actor's direction is crisp and confident, establishing a fun, freewheeling rhythm from the jump that captures the audience's attention. So yeah, Don Jon is a great coming out for a new filmmaker… at least until it isn't.

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