Don Juan

Hohum (even with Depp and Brando) Johnny D., how could you do this to us, after such an enthralling performance in Ed Wood? Oh, well, it's probably not your fault. When a dreadful script is floating along with bad direction and nothing to back it up except good photography, even two exceptional actors cannot manage to save the day. Of course J.D. lets those seductive tones roll off his tongue and does his sexiest in such scenes as the dinner table seduction, but the envelope of this ridiculous comedy seems to smother everything inside it.

It seems as if director Jeremy Leven couldn't make up his mind what style to choose, or perhaps didn't have a mind to choose a style at all. As Don Juan, Depp doesn't seem to know how to combine a comic character with a sensual lover and, although this is not an easy task, it looks as if the director didn't know how to go about it either. It might have been better to remember that, in real time (as opposed to "reel" time), Depp is the kind of lover who marries so quickly that there is no time for comedy.

Marlon Brando gives a fine performance, but, unfortunately, the Actor's Studio pulse seems to pervade this romantic and naturalistic portrayal out of place within the confines of an already torn envelope. Taking a note from Brando, used in a different context before the film's end, it seems as if they are all "suffering from a case of incurable romanticism, which is highly contagious" and, to be kind, we probably all would have been a lot better off if they all died from it before the first day of shooting on this dud.

The original title, Don Juan DeMarco and the Centerfold, gives a better idea of what might have been expected if it had been made differently. Bob Dishey, as the head shrink, seems to be the only one who knows what this kind of comedy should really be about, and even he gives a more supressed performance than usual.

What remains? Some nice shots, some beautiful women, some nice costumes, and a terribly boring time. You can almost hear the cameraman calling, "More gauze," not only for the close-ups of Faye Dunaway, but for any shot with any woman in it. Who put this thing together? It seems incredible that American Zoetrope and Coppola would let such tripe escape through their production doors. In any case, the audience here was packed with 13 to 15 year old girls (and boys) who enjoyed themselves immensely. Maybe this is how Sinatra got started?

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett