Movie: Fading Gigolo
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Fading Gigolo is not the sequel to American Gigolo and the later years of a greying Richard Gere. This is a story about Fioravante (John Turturro) and bestie Murray Schwartz (Woody Allen), two guys trying to scratch out a living in New York City. Murray’s rare book store is going toes up, and Fioravante is eking out a living working floral arrangements and off the books plumbing. Murray pays a visit to his attractive dermatologist Dr Parker (Sharon Stone), and the two muse about the potential in people who experience a ménage a trois. Murray recalled that he had one during the Blackout of 1977: “It was too dark to see anything, but still very pleasant”. The good doctor is intrigued, and Murray intimates that he knows someone, “a real professional”, and it will only cost her $1,000.
With a client on the hook, Murray floats the idea to Fioravante that this is their ticket to solvency. Taken aback by the idea, Fioravante asks Murray, “Are you on drugs”? To which Murray replies, “Apart from Zoloft, no”. Worn down by Murray’s flattery about his appeal to women, and no doubt worried about his meager checking account balance, Fioravante proclaims, “I’m your ho’!”
It turns out that Fioravante, renamed Virgil for professional reasons, is a natural in the role of gigolo. He has a knack for making women relax, he is a good dancer, he keeps a touch of mystery about him, and … he performs. Word among the female set spreads, and Virgil is in demand. His pimp, Murray under the nom de plume Dan Bongo, is earnestly beating the bushes for clients. Soon Selima (Sofia Vergara), a tigress in 8 inch stiletto heels has Virgil in her bed. Then shy and widowed Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) is enticed to meet Virgil, but only for a massage. Things start to get complicated for the sex practice, as Avigal is constantly followed by a love smitten Jewish neighborhood watchman in the person of Dovi (Liev Schrieber).
This is a very smart adult comedy with solid acting and a great script. Woody Allen is in his funniest role in 20 years. John Turturro, who wrote and directed the film, gives a sensitive and textured performance as a man who loves women in general, and slowly reveals real feelings for one in particular. This is a rare film that allows you to laugh at the human condition, and then be moved by real people having real emotions, unlike the romcom fare we are usually subjected to. This is a film that deserves to be seen.
Huh? What the ….: Woody Allen playing baseball with the neighborhood kids. Pretty spry for a 78 year old guy.
Sharon Stone in a nude scene. Pretty hot for a 56 year old babe.
Actor to Watch: This is a showcase for John Turturro. The film came out too early in the year, but maybe a dark horse for an Oscar acting nomination?
Dialogue Nuggets: Murray describing Selima: “She’s a miracle of physics. I don’t know what keeps her up”!
Selima and Virgil: “Do you have any idea what goes on in a woman’s head”? Virgil retort: “If I did, I wouldn’t be here”.
Dr. Parker to Virgil: “You’re top shelf – hard to reach. That’s what makes you so good”.