While it’s fine for a film to stretch plausibility, it was still brave of John Turturro to cast himself here as a florist convinced to make a mid-life career change to gigolo. It was even bolder for him to enlist Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara and Vanessa Paradis to play his prospective clients. Yet strangely it works, the beauty and magnetism of these women combining perfectly with their obvious enthusiasm for the project and the fun they are having with Turturro and each other to make their scenes charming and eminently convincing. The lead character turns out to be a naturally good gigolo and the humour comes not from slapstick or ineptitude but how surreal the situation is.
The problematic casting comes instead from the choice of Woody Allen as Murray, the friend and latter-day pimp who conceives this whole plan. Woody Allen is fine for this role. He should be, he has played it countless times in his own movies, and therein lies the problem. This strange New York coming-of-age tale feels like an Allen film already without putting the man himself in it. With Allen an ever-present observer it feels too much like his 50th film, not one of Tuturro’s, and you can’t help judge it as such – it doesn’t hold up to such scrutiny.
Fading Gigolo is quirky fun and endearingly charming, Fioravante’s mid-life journey of self-discovery proving a pleasant ride. However it is far from the standards of Allen’s greats and never escapes that shadow.
‘Fading Gigolo’ Movie Times