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Scarlett Johansson’s Sexy, Gum-Cracking Gal Scores in Don Jon

Scarlett Johansson stars with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon.

Scarlett Johansson stars with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon.

Scarlett Johansson returns to the big screen in “Don Jon” a new romantic comedy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The movie debuts domestically this weekend in 2,400 theaters. Critics say it’s her best performance in years and give the movie a hefty thumbs up, too.

Johansson, 28, is best known of late for her roles in blockbuster hits in “The Avengers,” and “Iron Man 2.”

She’ll star in another Marvel tent pole “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” next year. But in between the big-budget productions, she’s also leaving room for in indie productions that have allowed her to grow as an actress.

Her 2011 feature “We Bought a Zoo,” was a modest hit, grossing more than $120 million worldwide. It scored a “fresh” 66 percent rating on rottentomatoes, which tracks reviews.

Scarlett Johansson Sizzles in Don Jon
(Click photos to enlarge)

Her more highbrow film, “Hitchcock,” with Anthony Hopkins and Hellen Mirren, fared the same with critics but earned only $23 million, most of which came from overseas. It only grossed $6 million domestically, according to boxofficemojo.

“Don Jon” is her latest outing and is holding its own against a busy weekend of movie releases. Four new films debuted, including kid-flick “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2,” which currently tops the box office.

Ron Howard’s R-rated Formula One racing thriller “Rush,” and Paula Patton’s “Baggage Claim” round out the top five movies for new releases, while “Prisoners,” which tipped last week is ranked No. 3, according to deadline.

The R-rated “Don Jon” is about a Jersey guy, Jon “Don Jon” Martello Jr. (Gordon-Levitt), who, outside of a normal family life, is addicted to porn. He spies Barbara Sugarman, (Johansson) a “gum-cracking,” bridge-and-tunnel girl whose Jersey accent–and attitude–is so thick she could chop wood with it.

“I did love playing this character, but I think partly because I really sympathized with her,” Johansson told MTVNews. “I think that the character has a ton of conviction,” she added.

“I just played her with as much conviction as I think she has. It was just an absolute blast.”

Martello is smitten by her beauty but sees her as a one-night stand. Barbara has her own addiction, romance movies; she wants much more. The movie becomes a test of wills. Is Martello willing to go the distance to get what he wants?

Julianne Moore plays an older woman, Esther, who meets Jon in a night class. She traces his unsatisfied sex life to his porn addiction.

Porn relationships are always filmed from one perspective, and therefore one-sided; they’re not mutual relationships, she explains. In the end, Jon falls for Esther and he learns about the satisfaction of sex for the first time.

Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and directed the picture, says porn played an integral part in the film’s message. “I wanted to center the story around the way media influences how we see the world,” he told reporters as part of the Los Angeles Times’ Indie Focus Screening Series.

“I think especially when it comes to love and sex and relationships we often develop unrealistic expectations based on these fantasies that we see on screen.”

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