In the gentle comedy “Fading Gigolo,” Fioravante (John Turturro) is not a pretty man. He readily admits this.
So the idea that his good friend, Murray (Woody Allen, in a rare acting turn these days), presents to him seems preposterous. Murray thinks Fioravante should become a male escort.
Murray’s selling points: Fioravante has a natural charm, a comforting charisma. And there are a lot of lonely women out there looking for that. Besides, Murray tells Fioravante, they could both use the money. Murray would get a “finder’s fee,” naturally.
Fioravante reluctantly agrees, so Murray sets up an initial meeting with his doctor (a still radiant Sharon Stone). She’s intrigued by Fioravante. He’s confident. Unassuming. Masculine.
From there, Murray picks up more clients for Fioravante, including Avigail (Vanessa Paradis), a mourning widow who lives by a strict Jewish code. Fioravante falls for her. Complications ensue.
The story overall is enjoyable. There’s a kind of a relaxed pleasure about it, yet it somehow feels slight.
The set-up – that Fioravante would bed these beautiful women – is preposterous, of course. We’re asked to just go with it, even if we never fully buy it.
The humorous chemistry between Turturro (who also wrote and directed) and Allen saves the day. Allen is very funny in his typical self-deprecating style. He makes “Gigolo” a mellow treat.