Release Date: 23rd May 2014 (Ireland)
Running Length: 90 minutes
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber
Directed by: John Turturro
Story by: John Turturro
Cinematography: Marco Pontecorvo
Studio: Antidote Films
Fading Gigolo asks a vast suspension of disbelief from its audience.
As any financial analyst worth their salt will tell you, diversification is the key to survival during these recessionary times. As John Turturro’s offers of work went from quality fare such as Miller’s Crossing (1990) and Barton Fink (1991) to Transformers (2007), Transfomers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), he has made the move from acting to writing and directing. Fioravante, his character in Fading Gigolo must also adapt to survive. At the beginning of Turturro’s fifth directorial effort, Fioravante is a part-time florist and book shop clerk struggling to make ends meet. When his friend and boss, Murray (Woody Allen) is forced to close his rare book shop, Fioravante is persuaded to supplement his income by dipping his toe into the world’s oldest profession. Acting as agent/pimp, Murray persuades Fioravante to assist his highly-successful dermatologist (Sharon Stone) in facilitating a ménage à trois with her attractive girlfriend (Sofia Vergara). Inconceivably, he is an unexpected hit with the ladies. His client base starts to grow, and soon the money is rolling in.
Fading Gigolo asks a vast suspension of disbelief from its audience. From believing that the near-mute Fioravante could be an object of female desire, to buying into Sharon Stone or Sofia Vergara having to pay for sex. The presence of Allen in a broad comedic performance notwithstanding, Fading Gigolo’s tone makes it impossible to escape the impression that Turturro’s film could easily be swapped with one of Allen’s lesser films of the mid-2000s. More Scoop (2006) or Whatever Works (2009), rather than Midnight in Paris (2011) or Blue Jasmine (2013), Fading Gigolo is occasionally amusing, but never hilarious. Vanessa Paradis is affecting as Avigail, the emotionally-paralysed widow of an orthodox Chasidic Rabbi. But the character that comes out best is New York itself, which is beautifully rendered in autumnal hues of auburn.