John Turturro as the sexiest guy currently on theater screens (well, starting this Friday, at least). It's true. In the new movie FADING GIGOLO, the actor/director plays a part-time florist named Fioravante, whose friend and mentor, Murray (Woody Allen), begins pimping him out as a by-the-hour lover to wealthy women in need. If this sounds a little skeevy and untoward, it turns out not to be -- for a couple of good reasons. Number one is Mr. Turturro himself, who brings such warmth, kindness, honesty and -- yes -- quiet, non-pushy sex appeal to the table (and bed) that he wins you over rather spectacularly. Number two: the prostitute here is an adult male, strong but never threatening, which removes from the equation the usual fear for the welfare of the female hooker, should she encounter a dangerous john.
Sharon Stone, above) remarks casually that one of her friends (Sophia Vergara, shown at bottom) and she would like a threesome, if only they knew a willing guy, Murray goes into action and up comes Fioravante, eventually servicing these gals like a pro -- only better. Ms Stone is back to looking like the glamour gal we remember, rather than the very interesting character roles she's been doing of late (Lovelace, Alpha Dog), while Ms Vergara does her usual vah-vah-voom with expected relish.
Vanessa Paradis, at right, who seems to consistently surprise with each new role (compare her work in this film with that of Café de Flore and Heartbreaker). Here she plays Avigal -- a Hasidic widow, depressed and ripe for release -- and she brings to the movie its strongest performance and a character worth knowing. The role also allows us to meet her unasked-for protector, a local cop in the Brooklyn Hasidic neighborhood, played well, as always, by Liev Schreiber (below, right, manhandling Mr. Allen), who brings his own brand of pushy strength to the proceedings, nicely counteracting Turturro's quieter model.
God's Pocket -- more of which in the days to come). The accompanying music is well-chosen and delivered, and technically everything is up to snuff.
Millennium Entertainment, opens this Friday, April 18, in New York City at the City Cinema 1,2,3; at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and the Angelika Film Center. In the Los Angeles area, the film will show at The Landmark and Pacific's ArcLight Hollywood.