Sundance '13: Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon's Addiction' a Crowd-Pleaser
by Alex Billington
January 20, 2013
"There are only a few things I care about," it starts. His body, his car, his pad, and of course, sex. But more than that, porn. Don Jon's Addiction is the feature directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wrote the screenplay and stars on top of directing. In the film, he plays a New Jersey "Guido" (think Jersey Shore) obsessed with porn, but despite a simple concept like that, this film is not only hilarious but heartfelt, too. The characters aren't flat, the film isn't dull, it's vibrant and flashy and entertaining and a rather remarkable feature directing debut for Gordon-Levitt, better than I was expecting. I am impressed.
Don Jon's Addiction starts out as a near perfect mockery of the Guido/Jersey Shore lifestyle, epitomized by a buff and perfectly realized character, played by JGL. However, as it goes on it starts to show that Gordon-Levitt has a much deeper grasp of the character and what makes these people who they are, what they're interested in, and why. Specifically, that this generation is growing up with porn being so commonplace and so easily accessible it's desensitizing the idea of "making love", and what exactly that really means anyway.
Following the screening, I met up with friends Peter Sciretta and Russ Fischer from SlashFilm for a discussion on Don Jon's Addiction right outside the theater. Watch our Sundance '13 video blog review here:
One of the other highlights of Don Jon's Addiction that makes it such a perfect crowd-pleaser is the cast, carefully chosen by Gordon-Levitt, who all give superb performances. Without them, it wouldn't be as good as it is. Scarlett Johansson stars as the "dime" (a 10 out of 10 in guy terms) in the film, and she gives an effectively amusing push-back to Gordon-Levitt's character, being the inciting "incident" for good reason. Julianne Moore also makes a worthy appearance (talking about her is best after the experience), but it's Don Jon's family with Tony Danza as his dad, and Brie Larson as his sister, who often steal the show.
Don Jon's Addiction is definitely a crowd-pleaser, as can be seen between the three of us chatting about it in the video, and all the other reactions coming out of Sundance. I wasn't expecting that much from it, but was surprised to be laughing and enjoying almost every minute of it. Gordon-Levitt definitely can direct as well, and if this is what he can do his first time out, I can't wait to see how his directing career grows from here.