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Fading Gigolo: John Turturro gives us the Woody Allen we want to see
By SP_COP on May 19, 2014 | From www.theguardian.com
Fading Gigolo: John Turturro gives us the Woody Allen we want to see We know him best as nerdy schlemiel Herb Stempel from Quiz Show, as weenie-wagger and bowling kingpin Jesus from The Big Lebowski, and as any number of rats and weirdos and yutzes these 30 years past. But for more than 20 years now, John Turturro has run a spirited little cottage industry on the side as writer-director and star of his own movies. Fading Gigolo is the kind of work you find yourself forgiving for its flaws because there is a core of sweetness and mildness to his films, and because their incidental pleasures often add up to more than the sum of the movie itself.

The incidental pleasures in Fading Gigolo start with its sweet and slightly risible premise: John Turturro – a florist named Fioravante – has the sexual magic touch for the lonely, libidinous matrons of the One Percent. Equally unlikely is the notion of Sharon Stone, mega-rich dermatologist, looking magnificent but trembling and stammering before the man who played the whimpering, pants-pissing Bernie the schmatta in Miller's Crossing (as a *** but nervous first-timer, she loopily blurts out, "I'm a little crazed – I just came from an Aids benefit!"). What women get from him, even if they don't know they want it, is an old-school gentleman, a gifted and solicitous lover, and a good listener who turns up bearing orchids he grew himself. And Turturro, despite some snarky comments on his looks in some reviews, is a rather magnificent specimen when he cleans up and stands up straight.

The other pleasure to be found here is Woody Allen, somehow alive and well outside the hermetically sealed, insular world of his own filmic universe, playing the broke book store owner-cum-pimp Fioravante steps up to help out. This offers odd, pleasing instances of WTF, like, did I really just see Woody Allen driving a car? Would he ever mention so louche a figure as Mick Jagger in one of his own scripts? Would he ever be godfather to four cute young black kids, as here? Turturro's Woody – still playing Woody Allen because, really, Woody Allen is the only role he knows how to play – loses a lot of the snippiness and self-absorption of the Woody-built Woody, and it's a small joy to witness him being so lovable, witty and wise – and so unneurotic....
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