Film review: Fading Gigolo (15)

I AM not a betting woman usually, but if the shout went out “Who thinks I am a sex machine?” I would lay my house against the answer being “Why you are, John Turturro!”

Woody Allen in Fading Gigolo. Picture: Contributed
Woody Allen in Fading Gigolo. Picture: Contributed

Fading Gigolo (15)


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Starring: John Turturro, Woody allen, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara

I mean no disrespect to Turturro, an actor to savour in Miller’s Crossing, Quiz Show and The Big Lebowski. I’m not denigrating his age or looks either. But in Fading Gigolo Turturro has written, directed and cast himself as a cash-strapped florist who agrees to be pimped out as a man-whore by his old friend Murray (Woody Allen, pictured right with Turturro), and finds great success offering his services around Brooklyn at $2,000 a night. This might work as the start of a frenetic sex-comedy, but Turturro’s approach is low-key, low-wattage and low on laughs. Murray boasts that his gigolo can “bring magic to the lonely” but what we see on screen is a taciturn introvert approaching a threesome with Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara with the expression of a doctor with a very big boil to lance and no surgical gloves left.

A melancholy subplot involving a grieving Hassidic widow (Vanessa Paradis) just adds to the tonal messiness. Fading Gigolo has a ton of ideas,

and an unwillingness to discard the more derivative ones – such as the nostalgic soundtrack, talky comedy and effortful attempts at weighty ideas. As a

result, instead of a rather sweet film about loneliness and unexpected connections, we get swingers night at a Woody Allen fan convention.

Siobhan Synnot

Selected release: Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse from Friday