18 May 2014

Fading Gigolo: Man, Woman, Money? Love?

A seller of rare books (Woody Allen) is down on business, until a revelation of need from his affluent dermatologist (Sharon Stone) leads him to offer his flower-arranging friend (John Turturro) a career as a gigolo. Things go well, as Allen plays pimp to Turturro, trying to fish in needy women. Then the gigolo falls in love.

Fading Gigolo has a flimsy premise in its midst and would have been pretty much a no show but for the chemistry and humour its cast generates. Woody Allen in a film not directed by him is good match for John Turturro, the film's director and main protagonist. The lonely women roles by Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara and Vanessa Paradis are part of the film's winning moments, as is Allen's legendary monologue bumbling wit . Turturro is an unlikely dark horse, he exudes vulnerability and eagerness for life, it is certainly a self-casting that works.

The Jewish background works incidentally as a comic statement on societal rules, it is otherwise a half-baked afterthought. The climax is unreasonably conclusive and tepid, a saving grace is the final Allen-Turturro scene, unexpected and warm to a degree. In fact, with some daft screenplay, the film could have explored the story further from where it ends. 

Finally, Fading Gigolo is a adult comedy that doesn't rise to great heights, but keeps it relevant and light with some sparkling moments, enough to exit the theatre with a satisfied air.   

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