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Review: ‘Don Jon’ holds nothing back with addiction, obscenity, romance

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Scarlett Johansson in a scene from ‘Don Jon,’ which is slated to hit theaters Sept. 27. Credit: Courtesy of Relativity Media

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Scarlett Johansson in a scene from ‘Don Jon,’ which is slated to hit theaters Sept. 27.
Credit: Courtesy of Relativity Media

“Step Brothers.” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” “Borat.” These films share a common theme — they aren’t movies you should watch with your parents.

“Don Jon” can be added to that list.

The comedy and drama about Jon, the film’s main character, and his journey through his porn and sex addiction is the directing debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay and plays Jon in the film.

The film also stars Scarlett Johansson as Jon’s girlfriend, Julianne Moore as one of Jon’s college classmates and Tony Danza as Jon’s father.

The film does a good job showing how addiction can interfere with daily life and is a coming-of-age story as Jon learns the difference between reality and the steamy videos he watches online.

I really enjoyed how the film made use of certain sounds and music to signify certain events, such as the sound of a Mac computer booting up being the conditioned sound to let viewers know when Jon was about to watch a video, or a certain music cue when Jon would see a lady at the club he wants to pursue. This added a comedic element to the film; when there was utter silence, then you’d hear the computer chime, knowing full well what followed suit.

Gordon-Levitt and Johansson are excellent as their delusional characters that have unrealistic views of love. Gordon-Levitt’s character was unable to realize the consequences porn had on his life and the relationships he has with women, while Johansson’s character was mesmerized by the romantic stories she finds on the silver screen. I found that Moore shined the most — playing an older woman who tries to befriend Jon. After she reveals something personal to Jon, I felt her anguish and heartbreak.

Much like the 2011 movie “Shame,” “Don Jon” walks a controversial line in holding nothing back when it comes to censoring. With a movie like this, you’re getting what you’re paying for — which is a lot of “censored” porn clips. Despite the obscenities, “Don Jon” is a great film for its depiction of a man admitting to his addiction and learning to live without it.

“Don Jon” is set to open in theaters Friday.

Grade: A-

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