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John Turturro
John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sofia Vergara
Writing Credits:
John Turturro

Murray (Woody Allen) talks his friend Fioravante (John Turturro) into becoming a gigolo as a way of making some much needed cash after an out-of-the-blue request from his dermatologist (Sharon Stone). With Murray acting as Fioravante's manager the duo quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love and money.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$180,801 on 5 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 8/19/2014

• Audio Commentary with Director/Actor/Writer John Turturro and Director’s Assistant Cameron Bossert
• Six Deleted Scenes
• Previews and Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Fading Gigolo [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 7, 2014)

Noted actor John Turturro hops into the director’s chair with 2013’s Fading Gigolo. When Murray (Woody Allen) gets a request from his dermatologist (Sharon Stone) to set her up for a menage a trois, he thinks of his florist pal Fioravante (Turturro). This strikes the average-looking, middle-aged Fioravante as odd, but he agrees to it.

Part of the decision relates to a need for money. The underemployed Fioravante could use the bucks, and Murray wants to save the foundering book store he owns. This sets them down a path in which Fioravante becomes a consistent gigolo while Murray acts as his “manager”. Matters complicate when Fioravante starts to fall for one of his clients.

When I requested a review copy of Gigolo, I clearly didn’t pay enough attention to the press release, as I believed it was Allen’s newest directorial effort. If I watched a version of the film without credits, I’d still believe that, as one finds next to nothing in Gigolo that separates it from Allen’s work.

Except for quality, that is. Granted, Allen’s releases tend to be all over the place, as his filmography comes with more than a few duds among the classics. Has Allen created anything as dull and flavorless as Gigolo? Probably, but if Allen had been the one behind it, the movie would clearly reside toward the bottom of his list.

Make no mistake: Gigolo plays like Imitation Woody. Even if we leave out Allen himself from the cast, everything about it – credits, humor, tone, characters, music – reminds me of the Woodman’s films. I imagine Turturro must have done this consciously, but that doesn’t make it a good choice, as the result feels so derivative.

Actually, one aspect of Gigolo does separate it from Allen’s work: its unrelenting sense of vanity. Allen tends to glorify the culture in which he participates but he doesn’t posit himself as any sort of great man, while in Turturro’s hands, Fioravante becomes an amazing specimen. I guess it takes guts to cast yourself as All Things to All Women, especially when you look as average as Turturro, but that’s what he does.

I’m not saying that someone like Fioravante couldn’t prove to be a successful gigolo, as I know personality goes a long way with women. Nonetheless, it seems egotistical for Turturro to write a role for himself in which beautiful women constantly praise and pursue him.

Even without that narcissism, Gigolo would remain a flat concoction. The characters lack any real personality – other than Allen, that is, who plays the usual variation on himself – and the story barely moves. The attempt at a love story feels forced, especially via Turturro’s decision to make Fioravante’s crush a Hasidic Jew. This comes across like a gimmick with no purpose, and it forces a slow narrative to drag even more.

The story comes with a lack of logic that seems bothersome. Why would a dermatologist tell an elderly patient that she wants a threeway? Why would women who look like Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara bother to pay for sex anyway? Expect a number of plot holes across this lazy effort.

The performances mostly seem acceptable, with the notable exception of Turturro himself, as he underplays Fioravante to the point of inertia. Perhaps he felt this would make the character seem more serious and intellectual, but instead, it just creates a void at the center of the film.

For its first 15 minutes or so, Gigolo threatens to come to life and turn into a decent imitation of Woody Allen. Unfortunately, it quickly sinks underneath the weight of its inherent lack of substance.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

Fading Gigolo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a good but not great presentation.

Sharpness was usually fine. Most of the film looked pretty concise, but some light softness occasionally crept into a few wide shots. This wasn’t a big deal, though, so the majority of the presentation remained well-defined. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Gigolo went with a palette that favored a strong red/orange tone. Within those parameters, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. All of this left us with a “B” transfer.

Given the movie’s status as a character-based effort, I didn’t expect much from its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. It delivered the low-key soundscape I anticipated, as the flick usually opted for mild ambiance. Some street sequences offered a bit more life, but that was a relative thing; you’d hear a car drive from one spot to another but not a whole lot more than that. Music showed good stereo presence, though, and the soundfield made sense for the chatty tale.

I felt pleased with the quality of the sound. Speech always appeared natural and distinctive, without roughness or other problems. Music was warm and rich, and effects seemed accurate enough, though they didn’t have a lot to do. This was a pretty average track.

As we move to the set’s extras, we locate an audio commentary with director/actor/writer John Turturro and director’s assistant Cameron Bossert. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, sets and locations, music, cast and performances, visual design and other domains.

The commentary relates a reasonable amount of information but never really becomes compelling. The chat tends to drag as it goes, so it loses whatever mild steam it once boasted. Fans of the movie will learn enough to make the piece worth a listen, but they shouldn’t expect a particularly interesting conversation.

Six Deleted Scenes run a total of 10 minutes, four seconds. We see “Alternate Opening” (1:19), “Woody Improv” (3:05), “Sharon in Bed” (2:21), “Blaaagh” (0:25), “Stepping on Woody’s Toe” (0:57), and “Jazz Club – Original Cut” (2:54). These mix outtakes and extended scenes, without anything particularly useful along for the ride.

The disc opens with ads for Rob the Mob, Good People, Life of a King, and Parts Per Billion. We also get a trailer for Gigolo.

With a noteworthy cast and an interesting premise, Fading Gigolo comes with potential. However, it doesn’t do much with its concepts and becomes mired in egotism and boredom. The Blu-ray provides generally positive picture and audio as well as average bonus materials. Gigolo turns into a tedious disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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