“Fading Gigolo” a Fare Affair (Indie Film Review)

GIGOLO poster


Expanding his repertoire with a fifth movie under his direction, John Turturro opens this weekend with Fading Gigolo.  The vibrant and touching comedy has a commendable cast that delivers a sweet script with acceptable production values.  Although there are noticeable problems with uneven direction, the film still climbs to above average entertainment. If you like movies that are highly fictional yet imaginative enough to touch on reality, then this is your cup of tea.

The story centers on Murray (Woody Allen) a book store owner that brags a lot about what he can offer his clients.  One day while talking with his dermatologist Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone) the conversation turns sexual when she says she would pay $1000 for a menage a trois.  Needing money, Murray tells her he can get the right guy to make it happen.  She takes him up on his offer, but Murray has to act quick to make the deal work.

Murray (Woody Allen) and Norman (John Turturro) set up a plan

Murray (Woody Allen) and Norman (John Turturro) set up a plan

Murray asks his friend Norman (John Turturro), a single guy  strapped for funds, if he will do him the favor for some cash. Norman reluctantly accepts as long as he doesn’t have to use his real name.  Changing it to Fioravante  he meets with Dr. Parker, the two hit it off, and he receives $3000 for his efforts.  Seeing it was so easy, Murray gets the bright idea of starting an upscale prostitution business to be kept on the down-low.

Fioravante gets introduced to a widower Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) who wants to have sex as an attempt to cool off her sorrows from the loss of her husband. Paradis turns up the heat as the woman of strictly orthodox heritage taking a dangerous chance of being ostracized when she goes to meet Fioravante.  It just so happens that the local security police lead by Dovi (Liev Schreiber) are of the same sect and he finds it odd that so soon after becoming a widow, Avigal is mysteriously leaving the neighborhood. Having feelings for Avigal, Dovi follows the woman and see’s  her coming out of  Fioravante’s apartment, which adds a twist to the plot.

Sharon Stone as Dr. Parker and Sofia Vergara as Selima discuss their 'three way' affair

Sharon Stone as Dr. Parker and Sofia Vergara as Selima discuss their ‘three way’ affair

While Turturro does a fairly good job of directing himself, he falls short in attempting to guide Woody Allen.  Maybe it’s Turturro’s style, but it looks like Woody is in command of the film during his scenes. He’s just doing what comes “Woody Allen” naturally, but that’s not a good thing.  His Murray is the catalyst for the whole script and his hurried neurotic delivery looses the comedic chemistry involving his role as the pimp.  There’s very little  empathy for Murray’s problems or any desperation shown in his performance to start a prostitution business in the first place.

Fading Gigolo has been rated R by the MPAA for some sexual content, language and brief nudity.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An above average film that should appeal to the older crowd. (C+)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, and Sofía Vergara
Directed and written by: John Turturro
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Distributed by: Millennium Entertainment

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