It may have the look and feel of being a Woody Allen film, with similar dialogue and the New York City locations, but it was not made by the famous writer and director who brought us such classics as Annie Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Written, directed and co-starring John Turturro, Woody Allen plays a pimp to Turturro's character Fioravante. It's a strange role for Allen to play, but it actually works, thanks to his characters' witty dialogue and his upfront and honest and sarcastic personality. It's a shame that the rest of the film is not on the same level.
Having previously worked together in Allen's bookshop, Fioravante, now a part-time florist, needs to make some extra cash to pay the bills. He has a nice apartment and nice clothes, so it's a bit hard to believe Fioravante needs money that bad. But Allen's character, Murray, has a shrink named Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone) who mentions she would like to have extramarital sex, and wonders if he knows anyone available for such a task.
Turturro, whose real age is 57, is hardly gigolo material. Sure, he's a bit handsome in a sort of older and somewhat sexy kind of way, but it's simply not believable that the hot and stunning Stone would want a guy like him. Heck, she can have anyone she wants. Meanwhile, Dr. Parker's friend Selima (the sexy, vivacious Sofia Vergara) also wants a piece of Fioravante. And at one point in the film they want to share him. Throw in quiet, lonely, unattractive grieving Hasidic widow, Avigal (a blank and barely there Vanessa Paradis), who starts to fall in love with Fioravante, and Turturro the writer and director makes it appears that almost every woman in New York wants him.
There are lots of funny scenes in the film, and they all involve Woody Allen. At one point they chat to a very young woman in a restaurant, and it's Allen's character who charms the woman, and not Turturro's; he just sits at the table with his hands crossed. In Fading Gigolo, it appears that Turturro is trying to copy Allen's directorial and writing style, but comes up short. While Turturro is adept at directing scenes that are not too complicated and writing sharp dialogue for the man who is the king of sharp dialogue, it might have been a vain to cast himself in the lead of a gigolo. He's no gigolo, and he's a bit faded.