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If you have a pulse, chances are good you find either Scarlett Johannson or Joseph Gordon-Levitt devastatingly attractive. (Or maybe both? Who could blame you?) This wide scale appreciation for these two crazy-hot stars makes the latest Don Jon teaser a stealthy bit of advertising that played perfectly amid the mayhem of last night’s VMAs. Who needs to get into the story when you got ScarJo and JG-L making out? Top it off with some brief sound bites of critical praise, and you’ve delivered the message of “must see” to an audience groomed for instant gratification.
That’s fabulously fitting since Don Jon is a story all about a guy who is all about instant gratification. See, the title character played by Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and directed this comedy, is a New Jersey party boy who is obsessed with sex and addicted to pornography. But this self-loving lothario attempts to put his obsessions aside when he meets Barbara (Johansson), a good girl who craves commitment (as you can see above) and who he believes could be his one and only. The film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival last January. With a cast that also includes Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, and Short Term 12’s Brie Larson, Don Jon yielded mostly positive reviews, though our own Katey Rich dismissed it as “simultaneously banal and offensive.” Having not yet seen Don Jon, I admit it seems an unexpected move for Gordon-Levitt, who has so far managed to carve out a pretty extraordinary career for himself.
A child actor best known for the alien-centered sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun, he made the tricky trek to respected actor with a string of lead roles in compelling and chilling indie dramas like Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin and Rian Johnson’s Brick. Shortly thereafter he became a full-fledged heartthrob playing a hopeless romantic in the indie rom-com (500) Days of Summer, and was soon scoring high profile roles in big budget action tent poles like Christopher Nolan’s Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. He notably got into working behind the scenes with his HitRecord, a production company that encourages massive collaboration through online-culled creations. And for all the reasons above, we tend to love JG-L. But are audiences ready for his directorial debut that focuses on him playing a detestable galoot who just can’t get enough? We’ll find out when Don Jon hits theaters on September 27th.
For a more involved look at Gordon-Levitt’s gamble, check out this longer trailer: