Fading Gigolo Review
Pimping out friends to your dermatologist may be normal fare for some, but for the rest of us, the slow and meandering Fading Gigolo takes ridiculousness to another level. Sure, Pretty Woman did the whole prostitute with a heart of gold falls in love with her John, and fairly well, but Fading Gigolo cannot claim the same, and comes across as more of a mid-life crisis fantasy piece than anything else.
John Turturro not only wrote and directed the movie, but also stars as the title character, Fioravante, the soulful florist. He's joined by his lifelong friend, Murray (Woody Allen) who suggests that Fiorovante sleep with Murray’s wealthy dermatologist for money, after she reveals to him that she and her friends are dying to have a threesome, and quickly becomes Fiorovante’s pimp as he sets him on the course of sleeping with other women for money.
The gigolo business proves to be extremely profitable as Fiorovante caters to the aging beauties, who feed his ego calling him a "real man" because he's not pretty. The movie takes an odd turn when Murray decides to set his gigalo up with a younger hasid widow, Avigal (Vanessa Paradis). After a few awkward encounters between Fiorovante and Avigal the pair begin to fall in love, which raises the hackles of the Hasid cop played by Liev Schreiber, who’s long loved Avigal, takes action against the funny business he suspects is going on. It's one failed plot after another, and culminates in the old cliche with the manwhore falling for the innocent virgin.
John Turturro is soulful and eccentric, but the whole premise is utterly ridiculous. He's the whole package, with his sensitive lovemaking technique and his flower-arrangement skills, but he lacks confidence, at times lamenting with all the other film characters about not understanding women or their desires. Where his character should be breezy, his performance is heavy handed and forced at times.
Worse is Woody Allen as Murray. He's suppose to be charming and witty, one assumes, but watching him is akin to a slow and unmerciful death. He's playing a less spastic version of himself in other movies, and his meandering around with his younger girlfriend's four younger boys looking for someone to check one of them is suppose to be hilarious, but is far more appalling and offensive.
Sofia Vergara finally gets a role where she's not a caricature, and neither she or the stunning Sharon Stone can save the failing picture. The biggest highlight of the film may be the jazzy soundtrack, that helps build a rich cinematic backdrop to the floundering story. John Turturro wastes not only their talent but his own with this meandering tale of prostitution and love.
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