Dir: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara
When you have Woody Allen in a movie, two things are for sure: 1. The city in which the story is based gets the attention it deserves. 2. Allen’s character is bound to be verbose.
Although Fading Gigolo isn’t directed by Allen, both these things are evident in the film. And yet they are not enough to keep this dull attempt from turning duller. There are very few uplifting moments thrown in here as the comedy drags on only to be punctuated by some thoughtful scenes.
The story revolves around a part-time florist (John Turturro) and his out-of-work friend (Woody Allen). The latter tries and succeeds in convincing the former that there is a livelihood to be made out of prostitution.
After a point, it becomes difficult to gauge why the ‘gigolo’ in question continues with his new occupation. Money doesn’t seem to be his major concern anyway. Interestingly, that’s when he bumps into someone he almost instantly falls for. That’s also the point where the story picks up pace — albeit for a remarkably short period of time.
With the film set in the Jewish Hassidic-dominated part of Brooklyn, the interracial nuances are highlighted. But there’s hardly anything innovative about the sequences.
To top it all, several dialogues are lost on an audience that isn’t familiar with foreign languages. Besides, the film has many clueless somber scenes and flat dialogues, not to mention a dearth of good jokes.
Along with penning the script, Turturro also acted in and directed the film. The multitasking clearly took a toll on him as he walks through most of the film with just one trademark expression. Thankfully, it changes during the final scene (perhaps he was happy that the film is going to end).
On the other hand, Allen is his usual jovial self as he makes in-your-face comments. Vanessa Paradis, in the role of a traditional widow, delivers her finest performance. Liev Schreiber does a commendable work too. Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara do very little in the film other than showing skin.
If a visually pleasant film made at low production costs is something that excites you, then Fading Gigolo is what you should watch. If you’re looking for titillation or a boisterous comedy, stay away from this one.