Pornography frequently gets accused of giving people unrealistic expectations of what to expect in their love life, but aren’t romance movies guilty of the exact same thing? This is just one of the questions that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s feature writing and directorial debut Don Jon (formerly called Don Jon’s Addiction) seeks to answer, as Gordon-Levitt plays a porn-loving, materialistic New Jersey ladies magnet who falls for a woman so entrancing that he’s even willing to watch The Vow with her. Now that’s true love.
The first trailer for Don Jon featured an introduction from Gordon-Levitt himself, and presented a charismatic cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza and Julianne Moore. It’s definitely one of the better trailers to be released this year, beginning with protagonist Jon talking about his few passions in life (“my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my girls, my porn“), all set to a beat that turns arrhythmic upon his first encounter with ScarJo, then ends on a high note with “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
A second trailer for Don Jon has now been released, which is sadly a little shorter than the first, but nonetheless shows a bit of new footage. Once again, it highlights the parallels between Barbara’s (Johansson) love for romantic movies and Jon’s enthusiasm for midnight trysts with the women of internet porn, crystallized in the words: “Everybody knows it’s fake but they watch it like it’s real life.”
Gordon-Levitt is a born-and-bred Californian, but moved to New York in his late teens to study at Columbia University, so the script for Don Jon was written at least partially from personal experience of life in that area. The thick New Jersey accents of the cast might be a little grating for some, but they also add some flavor to a film that seems to be, in many ways, a product of its setting. Since Gordon-Levitt himself has been acting since his childhood and has starred in a few romcoms himself, it will also be interesting to hear his own perspective on the falsehoods of Hollywood romance.
Do you think that fluffy wish-fulfilment romance movies have more merit than porn films, or are both genres as bad as each other when it comes to presenting a skewed picture of relationships and sex? More importantly, does this trailer for Don Jon leave you wanting to find out how Joseph Gordon-Levitt tackles that question?
Don Jon is out in US theaters on limited release from October 18, 2013.