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Fading Gigolo


Stars: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, MÂ’Barka Ben Taleb, Tonya Perkins, David Margulies, Abe Altman, Sol Frieder, Max Casella, Loan Chabanol, Michael Badalucco, Aida Turturro, Allen Lewis Rickman, Bob Balaban

Director: John Turturro

Filmmakers (apart from him, of course) very, very rarely employ Woody Allen an actor.

Which makes perfect sense since has only one performance to offer and that is playing himself.

Which is what he does here yet again, portraying an elderly Woody Allen ‘playing’ an elderly New York bookshop owner who switches to being a pimp and persuades his dreary sometime florist-cum-plumber friend John Turturro to become a professional gigolo-for-hire.

Which he does, beginning by satisfying dermatologist Sharon “This is so high school” Stone and her girlfriend Sofia Vergara and, in a more serious but not a great deal more less unconvincing story strand, massaging unhappy Jewish Hasidic widow Vanessa Paradis who is confined to a strict neighbourhood where local Hasidic Jewish policeman Liev Schreiber stalks her…

The New York locations and Paradis’ good performance are the most convincing aspects of the tedious misfire. Turturro who bravely admits to writing and directing this comedy-without-laughs, also bravely states the obvious when he tells Allen, “I’m not a beautiful man” only to have be answered with “You’re disgusting in a very positive way”.

Eventually the mostly mirthless parade of cardboard characters passes by and the uninvolving tale tapers away, leaving Allen to tell Turturro, “I’m going to miss you”.

I couldnÂ’t have agreed less.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 26 May 2014