The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>Fading Gigolo</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Fading Gigolo

A mild mannered florist hires out his body to lonely women.

Directed by: John Turturro
Starring: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schrieber

Mild mannered Brooklyn florist Fioravante (Turturro) is approached by his friend Murray (Allen) with an unexpected business proposition: the bored wife (Stone) of Murray's dermatologist is willing to pay a considerable sum to sleep with another man, along with her friend (Vergara). With Murray desperate for cash following the closure of his second hand bookstore, Fioravante reluctantly agrees to help him out, with the two splitting the profits as Murray becomes Fioravante's pimp.
As vanity projects go, John Turturro's fifth directorial outing is hard to beat. The actor casts himself in the role of a man who beautiful rich women are not only desperate to sleep with, but willing to pay a tidy sum for the experience. A character actor of some note, Turturro is hardly romantic lead material, so you would expect this scenario to play out for laughs, but Turturro's turgid, directionless script handles this improbable notion in a deadpan manner. His appeal to these ladies is never quite explored and his charm extends only as far as impressing his clients with a few lines of Italian.
Turturro’s performance is the worst we’ve ever seen from him, frequently appearing like he's more preoccupied by what his key-grips are doing out of shot than providing his character with anything resembling emotion, and he surrounds himself with some dubious talent. Vergara might be easy on the eye but she's one of the most irritating actresses currently working, though it’s Paradis who delivers the film’s worst turn. In fact it’s the worst performance you’re likely to witness in any movie this year. As wooden as a pilgrim’s log cabin, the Gallic chanteuse's face constantly sports a confused expression, while she delivers her lines with all the enthusiasm of a Monday morning schoolkid reading out the English essay he never got around to finishing.
Only the presence of Allen springs the movie into life but he seems uncomfortably out of place here, despite Turturro’s insistence on scoring his scenes with trad jazz, a move that only makes you wish all the more that you were watching Allen in one of his own movies. When Turturro called in a favour from his New York buddy, he would have been wise to allow him a pass at making something out of the script, though even a comic genius might struggle with that one.

Eric Hillis