Written by / 4/27/2014 / No comments / , , , , ,

JOHN TURTURRO DIRECTS AND STARS IN FADING GIGOLO W/ WOODY ALLEN

year: 2014 rating: *1/2
When times were good...
There’s a scene in Woody Allen’s HANNAH AND HER SISTERS where John Turturro is chewing out Woody's character… Woody runs a comedy show and John’s a disgruntled writer, angry that some of his dialogue was altered: If only the real life Turturro was angrier now, because while FADING GIGOLO has Woody Allen in his neurotic New York element, he hardly has any good lines… Meanwhile, Turturro’s  Fioravante, an extremely mild-mannered florist who pal Murray, played by Allen, turns into a gigolo for the lonely and rich, is so subdued you'd think he was halfway into an afternoon coma.

Stone in GIGOLO
Surprising since even Turturro’s most laidback personas, like BARTON FINK, are full of passion and pinned-up energy, but here he simply goes through the motions. The fact he’s not your typically handsome male getting paid to sleep with beautiful women for a large sum of cash is mentioned, yet there’s hardly any obstacles for he or anyone else to climb. No awkward moments, nothing... it's all just too easy. And Sharon Stone (who made her debut in Woody's STARDUST MEMORIES thirty-four years ago), as a smitten married customer getting uncomfortably attached, doesn't lead anywhere. But she’s not the lady that matters…

Even the quirkiest of indie romances needs a typical love interest, and here it’s Vanessa Paradis as a Rabbi’s widow, Avigal. Although Turturro the actor never seems as smitten as the director… If you counted how many scenes involve Paradis staring in a forlorn yet lovely manner, you’d run out of fingers. And a side story involving a group of neighborhood Jewish crime fighters is too bizarre for words, or laughs. 

Stone in Stardust
Leaving Allen as the intentional comic scene-stealer, but one can only talk so fast. Despite being an open book he has a mysterious living situation... Seeming like a Friar's Club member guest-starring on a sitcom, Murray resides with an African American family while it’s never sure if he’s married, or what the purpose of him having children, or grandchildren, or why did he decide to become a makeshift pimp in the first place, especially with such a strange choice for gigolo... And how on earth is Fioravante fading

Either way, this particular friendship is what's really supposed to matter, and yet Turturro and Allen had more chemistry annoying each other in HANNAH for one quick minute than in this self-aware ninety-minute misfire. 
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