What can’t Joseph Gordon-Levitt do? Since reasserting his focus on acting in 2004 with Mysterious Skin, the man has appeared in an impressive tally of films, ranging from indies (2005’s excellent Brick), to blockbusters (The Dark Knight Rises), to genre movies of several stripes (Looper, (500) Days of Summer), and he’s even founded hitRecord, an “online collaborative production company”. (Whatever the hell that means.) This year, he’s branched out even further by taking on directing and writing duties on Don Jon, in which he also stars as the title character. Guess he’s a student of da Vinci.
Or, at the very least, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Gordon-Levitt’s film is all about porn addiction, specifically that of John Martello (Gordon-Levitt), a musclebound Long Islander who has a bit of objectifying everything in his life; he’s a king among ladies’ men, though he’s more fulfilled by his addiction than his human relationships. That’s until he meets the right girl (Scarlett Johansson), starts growing discontent with the way his life is going, and decides to aim for something better and more meaningful.
It’s almost too formulaic on paper, and I’m sure it’s quite as formulaic on-screen, too. Early word on the film has been mixed, but on the positive side; if Don Jon plays to a specific movie blueprint, it sounds like it mostly succeeds in doing so based on the reactions that came out of SXSW, and the trailer strongly suggests that Gordon-Levitt has already developed his own artistic flair. (He can certainly groove like a boss to “Good Vibrations”, anyways.)
Don Jon comes out in September; this is the second trailer released to promote the film, and while it’s a bit shorter, that may be for the best. There’s still plenty of Danza, playing Jon’s dad, and plenty of mugging and hammy Long Island/Jersey accents. Sounds worth watching at a glance, though it’s hard not to wonder how close a look we’d be giving this production if JoGo wasn’t involved and at the wheel himself. (And you’re crazy if you think I’m not going to eventually make something of the lines about movies and reality.)