"There's only a few things I really care about in life. My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn't waste any time establishing his character's priorities in the first trailer to his directorial debut, "Don Jon," and just because pornography comes last on the list, don't think it's what he values the least. In fact, the title character spends a lot of time locked in a mental debate, wondering if women in real life could ever make him feel as good as the women he ogles online.
Watch the first trailer for 'Don Jon':
As the trailer opens, Jon Martello, played by Gordon-Levitt, explains what he loves in a fast montage while he pumps iron, does the vacuuming, peels out in a vintage muscle car, snaps his picture with his parents and sister, stops by at confession, watches a football game, makes out with a girl at the bar, and finally spends some quality time alone with his laptop.
Jon has this speech worked out like a mantra, and as he repeats it, it begins to sound like a song until he's stopped dead in his tracks when he sees Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), standing at the bar in a very clingy red dress. After making some significant eye contact. Jon tracks down Barbara's Facebook page, which includes some clothed but sexy self-shots. Jon's buddy Bobby (Rob Brown) declares, "She's a dime!" Jon replies, "This girl's MORE than a dime."
"Oh my God, are you in love with this girl already?" Bobby says, clearly a bit wary of what his friend has to say. It's clear that Jon is stuck on Barbara in a deeper way than usual, since he ends up telling his folks about her over dinner. But after Jon tells Barbara that she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen, she replies, "You like movies?"
It turns out that unlike Barbara, Jon has no use for the happy endings and fairy tale romances of the movies, preferring the more tangible fantasies of XXX videos. But Jon's willing to pretend he shares Barbara's dreams to keep her happy, until she walks in on him watching a porn film on his computer. "How do you watch that?" she asks angrily.
Jon snaps back, "How do you watch all the stupid movies that you watch?"
"Movies and porno are different!" Barbara shouts. "They give awards for movies!"
"They give awards for porn, too," Jon says with a smirk.
As Jon deals with his friends and family and has to weigh the benefits of a relationship with the very real Barbara against the shallow, image-conscious life he's built for himself, he says to himself and the audience: "Maybe it's time to try something new."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has risen to stardom in movies like "(500) Days Of Summer," "Inception," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Looper," but "Don Jon" is his first project as a writer and director. The film earned enthusiastic reviews when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, screening under its working title, "Don Jon's Addiction".
Variety said of the film, "Only an actor as appealing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt could pull off the role he creates for himself in 'Don Jon’s Addiction,' an endearingly masturbatory look at how a culture of objectification erodes our capacity for intimacy." And Film.com said, "After starring in four remarkably different roles last year, [Gordon-Levitt]'s finally stepped behind the camera to make a funny, sly directorial debut out of 'Don Jon’s Addiction.'
The positive press and good word-of-mouth led to a bidding war among distributors, with Relativity Media winning the rights to the movie. However, the film has gone through a few changes since premiering at Sundance. First, Gordon-Levitt shortened the title to "Don Jon" to avoid giving audiences the impression that it's primarily a film about sex addiction. And the first time director also clipped some of the scenes of Jon watching porn in order to avoid an NC-17 rating.
"I never wanted to make something that was overly provocative, I never wanted to shock people," Gordon-Levitt told a reporter while screening the movie at the South by Southwest Film Festival. "I wanted this to be a pop movie, a mainstream movie."
Just how mainstream "Don Jon" is – and if it's as good as the early reviews suggest – will be revealed when the movie opens in theaters on October 18, 2013.