Fading Gigolo (2013)
Cast includes: John Turturro (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?), Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Sharon Stone (Basic Instincts), Live Schreiber (Defiance), Aida Turturro (The Sopranos), Vanessa Paradis (Café de Flore)
Director: John Turturro (Passione)
Genre: Comedy (90 minutes)
“My father started the shop. Now I have to close it… the end of an era,” says Murray. “Only rare people buy rare books.” And there aren’t enough rare people any more. Fioravante has been working part time for Murray and part time for a florist. It’s the end of an era for Fioravante, too. The two of them are both struggling to make ends meet. By the way… “I was at my dermatologist,” says Murray. She happened to mention that she was interested in a ménage a trois… and she asked Murray if he knew anyone. “I do but it’ll cost you $1,000,” says Murray. Fioravante wonders where Murray’s going with this conversation. “I was thinking of you,” says Murray. “Are you on drugs!” says Fioravante. “Apart from Zoloft… No,” says Murray. Of course, Murray thinks he should get a “little fee” for making the arrangements.
Oh well… probably not a good idea. But soon after that, the planets start to align. Dr. Parker calls Murray to find out if he’s serious about “having someone.” Murray goes to the florist to have another chat with Fioravante. “You need a young slick beautiful-man type,” says Fioravante. But Murray thinks Fioravante’s earthy qualities will make him appealing to women. “You look good without your clothes?” Murray needs to confirm. “You want to turn me into a hoe!” Truthfully, they could both use the money.
Fioravante makes a rather good impression with Dr. Parker when he shows up with orchids in a striking Japanese arrangement. But Dr. Parker starts getting cold feet. “This is so high school.” Fioravante realizes he’ll have to take the lead… gently but surly. If the amount of money in the envelope is any indication, Fioravante’s talents were greatly appreciated. “So are you charging by the hour? Or per shot?” asks Murray… $1,500 for Fioravante and $1,000 for Murray. “That makes it official,” Murray pronounces.
Meanwhile, another story line develops when Murray puts Fioravante together with Abigal, a widow who lives in Murray’s Hasidic Jewish community. Before we know it, the whole community, including Murray’s own “rainbow coalition” is involved in the story. It’s way to complicated to try and explain… but here’s the upshot… Fading Gigolo is a charming movie that feels a lot like a Woody Allen film, even though Woody didn’t write or direct it. John Turturro wrote and directed the film, and he stars as the reluctant gigolo. Woody plays Murray. Turturro created the role for Woody, and the two of them collaborated for 2 years before filming. As a director, John Turturro usually leans toward slightly strange material. This is probably his most mainstream movie to date, and Woody Allen fans will recognize much of the classic Woody-style humor in both the plot line and the dialog. One thing leads to another, and like the aging gigolo-manager team, Fading Gigolo is “top shelf.”
4 popped kernels
Elderly bookstore owner needs a new profession, so he becomes the manager of his friend’s new career as a professional gigolo
Rated: R (Sexual Content)
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished Realism
Nutshell: Midlife career change… a gigolo and his manager
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment