‘Don Jon’ satisfies Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s urge to take risks

For his directorial feature debut, “Don Jon,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt opted to address pornography addiction.
For his directorial feature debut, “Don Jon,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt opted to address pornography addiction.Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

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Shortly after Joseph Gordon-Levitt screened his directorial feature debut, the then-titled “Don Jon’s Addiction,” at the Sundance International Film Festival, Hollywood trade publication Variety posted a glowing review — but said that only a guy as likable as Gordon-Levitt could pull off what he created.

The movie is about a tough, “Jersey Shore” type of guy who has a pornography addiction, which means that as director and star, Gordon-Levitt bombards the audience with images of real porn and masturbation scenes. Gordon-Levitt’s thuggy, club-going Jon opens his laptop over and over again so that he can watch an X-rated video, take care of business, and then toss a tissue into a wastebasket. It’s not a pretty sight.

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