Joseph Gordon Levitt has been on fire for the past two years. He had a stellar 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, and Lincoln, and he’s pretty much universally beloved by the audience, right? I mean, who actually hates Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor?
That being said, his directorial debut might be a huge miss for him. The first trailer for Don Jon [previously known as Don Jon’s Addition] has released online, and it’s all over the place. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a romantic comedy? Is it a romantic drama? Is it a movie about sex addiction? Is it a movie about falling in love? All of the above? Joseph Gordon Levitt’s always said that the film is a combination of a few different genres, and the reviews coming out of Sundance were pretty decent.
However, the general audience doesn’t like to be tricked [see: Drive], and they also don’t go see movies that they feel have mixed marketing messages [see: Side Effects]. This type of movie needs to have a very clear, defining ‘hook’, or the audience just doesn’t care. To be fair, JGL might not care about making money, and the reviews all indicate that he’s made a pretty good movie, especially for a freshman directorial effort.
But damn it, I want him to do well! And this trailer is all over the place. Give the audience something clear, and they’ll come watch the movie. Right now, the dialogue is witty in some places and not so much in other places. The accents are completely throwing me off, and really, the one [and practically] only thing this trailer has going for it is the caliber of actors involved. You have Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza – that’s a pretty great cast, not even including JGL.
Overall, the trailer has its moments, but it’s lackluster and unconvincing as a whole. Even after watching the trailer and reading the reviews, I’m not really sure what this movie is about. And that’s never a good thing.