by Josh Grossberg | Thu., Sep. 26, 2013 6:13 AM
Talk about satisfying.
The reviews are in for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's feature directorial debut, Don Jon, and the majority of critics are fawning over the comedy in which the 32-year-old plays a modern day Don Juan addicted to porn on a quest to achieve a more fulfilling sex life.
The film also stars Scarlett Johansson as the object of Jon's affection, who just might show him the true meaning of happiness and intimacy. It hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 27.
Here's a sampling of what the critics are saying, with many hailing ScarJo's performance and one even comparing Don Jon to a certain '70s classic starring John Travolta:
• "Gordon-Levitt proves a natural filmmaker, nimbly staging Jon's highly amusing Catholic confessions, along with porn montages that mimic the dopamine-charged editing of Requiem for a Dream. He also gets a terrific performance out of Tony Danza as Jon's hilariously blinkered brute of a dad," praised Owen Glieberman at Entertainment Weekly, giving it a B plus.
• "Gordon-Levitt's such a commanding physical actor, such a master of tone and nuance, that he's always fun to watch...Maybe it's a broad comedy role in an insignificant film, but I can hardly even explain to you how enjoyable Johansson is here," raved Salon's Andrew O'Hehir.
He added: "I found myself utterly charmed by the generosity of vision and the dramatic ambition at work here; it's as if a mid-'90s Italian-American sex farce (definitely co-starring Joe Pesci) had suddenly turned into a Henry Miller novel. This is a sweet, lively and funny movie rather than a fully realized one, but it makes clear that Gordon-Levitt has a natural feeling for cinema and should do more of it."
• "There's no dancing in Gordon-Levitt's writing-directing debut, Don Jon, although the movie is so heavily reminiscent—in the good way—of Saturday Night Fever that an arm-swinging paint-can reverie wouldn't be out of place. But the picture is agile in every other sense. It's a comedy that moves with a sense of purpose, as Gordon-Levitt does in the title role," offered Stephanie Zacharek at The Village Voice.
• "The movie is a broad ethnic comedy, but there's nothing broad about the wicked-smart way it's executed. Even long-played-out stereotypes take on new life," opined David Edelstein of New York Magazine.
• On the other hand, The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy was less impressed, writing: "Crude, repetitive and rigorously single-minded, the popular actor's writing and directing debut lays it all on a bit thick, as the few points the film has to make are underscored time and time again."
• "Are these people real? It's all supposed to be amusing, but it's just one-dimensional and obnoxious. Mercifully, it's over in an hour and a half, but these are the kinds of people you would not want to spend 90 seconds with, much less 90 minutes," chided The New York Observer's Rex Reed.
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