Fading Gigolo stars John Tuturro as Fioravante, a man not exactly living the dream in his job, but he has a talent for flower arranging. Unfortunately, he’s only getting two days work a week due to the recession. Similiarly, Murray’s (Woody Allen) bookshop is closing. They’ve been best friends all of Fioravante’s life, “ever since you tried to rob it as a child”, and he tells him about the fact his dermatologist said she and her girlfriend want a menage-a-trois, and he trots out in a matter-of-fact style how he said he knows someone who can help, and suggests our leading man for $1000. Fioravante asks if he’s on drugs, to which Murray replies that apart from his depression medication, no.
But you don’t just jump straight in to that. First he meets the dermatologist, Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone, looking as stunning as she did 22 years back in Basic Instinct), and other new women in his life include widowed of a Hasidic rabbi, Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) and Dr. Parker’s lover, Selima (Sofía Vergara), who also wants to try him out on her own first.
There’s a great number of amusing moments, such as when Murray suggests that he thinks Fioravante looks good without his clothes on, the reply comes, “You’re a sick man. You need help.”, and Murray counters, “I go for help, twice a week!”
And when organising the first client, Murray says he wants to take the call in its “office”, and does it from the broom closet, hiding away from the rest of the family; However, what I never quite got was the fact that there’s clearly no blood line between Murray and those he lives with and it’s never explained how he met them.
Set deep in the Jewish community in Brooklyn, and with the cast also including local neighbourhood plastic plod Liev Schreiber sniffing around where it doesn’t belong, plus the director finding an obligatory bit-part for his sister, Aida Turturro, Fading Gigolo is a funny film for the most part – and there’s some great one-liners in there, including the sort you expect to come out of Woody Allen’s mouth, but in the third act the pace changes and it slows down, so it feels like all the best bits were crammed into the first hour. That said, there is great chemistry between Tuturro and the nearly-80-year-old-and-on-top-form Allen, so it’d be nice to see them perform together again.
Also, some of the dialogue can’t be made out due to the music in the background sometimes, while in others, there are some Jewish words I don’t know, which can often kill the punchline.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.