Fading Gigolo

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"The film is entertaining without being of any value whatsoever"

Sex for sale becomes chic in John Turturro's odd romantic comedy, with Woody Allen as a pimp and Johnny Depp's ex as a Jewish widow in New York.

Its base is a long way out of orbit with hard core prostitution. These are middle class Democrats, credit crunched into requiring better paid, part time jobs to subsidise a failing bookshop.

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Murray (Allen) knows people in this orthodox Jewish neighbourhood and hears a surprising rumour that a couple of rich married ladies would be interested in paying for a no-strings threesome to freshen up their sex lives.

He persuades his friend Fioravante (Turturro), who runs a flower shop, to take the gig. The women are Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara, which makes the decision a no brainer. He sets it up, agrees an agent's fee and toddles off to the park to play baseball with a bunch of black kids.

Meanwhile, Fioravante meets Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) who is mourning the death of her husband, the rabbi, and they start a platonic love affair, which is all heart and no trousers.

Steady, Eddie!

None of this makes a blind bit of sense. Allen is so miscast, it's not funny. Paradis as a rabbi's widow? She doesn't look Jewish. She plays beautiful, sweet and innocent. What does that make her? Unobtainable? And what is Stone doing rolling around the sheets with a sexy South American and a fit Italian?

The film is entertaining without being of any value whatsoever.

Turturro has done better and will do so again. Allen is too well known to pretend to be anyone else. He's not an actor. He's a stand-up, who writes and directs.

Memories of Basic Instinct have already shredded, with the exception of the uncrossed legs incident. Stone's cameo appearance as a mature sex object does her career no favours. As for Paradis, she's better making French films, although it's nice to see her looking so well.

Reviewed on: 21 May 2014
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A bookseller persuades a florist to have a threesome for money in an Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of New York
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